Firefighters outside the fire gutten home. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A predawn blaze in El Cajon extensively damaged a home Tuesday and left a pair of firefighters with minor injuries from a structural collapse, authorities reported.

Flames began spreading through a detached garage next to the single- story residence in the 1300 block of Helix View Drive about 3 a.m., said Sonny Saghera, spokesman for Heartland Fire & Rescue. Two residents were able to escape unharmed along with their dog, he said.

Emergency crews arrived in the neighborhood just east of the intersection of Interstate 8 and El Cajon Boulevard to find that the blaze had spread to the house and some surrounding vegetation.

It took personnel from five East County firefighting agencies about an hour to extinguish the flames.

While firefighters worked to subdue the intense blaze, part of the garage collapsed onto two of them, briefly trapping them beneath the burning debris. Medics took them to UCSD Medical Center in San Diego, where they were treated and released later in the morning.

The cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $400,000 worth of damage, remained under investigation Tuesday afternoon, Saghera said.

Both were taken to the UC San Diego Medical Center burn unit for treatment of minor injuries, Saghera said, adding that both have since been released.

Two residents were able to escape the home unharmed along with their dog, he said.

Crews knocked down the flames within an hour, but the blaze destroyed the garage and caused smoke damage throughout the home, including the attic, Saghera said.

El Cajon police and the Sheriff Department’s bomb-arson unit were investigating the cause of the fire.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. March 31, 2020

–City News Service

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