Oceanside CA— Firefighters from Oceanside and Camp Pendleton responded to a residential structure fire in the 600 block of Ann St., shortly before 10:00am, Christmas morning. When firefighters arrived at the home in northeast Oceanside, there was heavy smoke rising from the home and flames shooting through the windows of the single story structure.
“Man, I knew I shouldn’t have gone to work this morning.” said Richard Caraballo, the homeowner. Richard said he went to work at his business, Fat Cats Machining, in Oceanside, to catch up on a few things. “My wife, Kimberly called me at work and said the water heater exploded and that there were clothes on fire in the garage. I told her to get out and then I drove home to find all this.”
Unfortunately, Kimberly was unable to get out of the home with the three family cats. “We found one of the cats had crawled underneath a sofa in the living room to take refuge. We had to lift up the coach and shake it to get the cat out.” explained Oceanside Fire Captain, Rocky Rehberg.
Oceanside Fire Captain, Timothy Scott said they retrieved another cat named ‘Aaliyah’ from a bedroom but found another one unresponsive. Extensive resuscitation efforts by firefighters failed on the third cat named ‘Julie Chiquita Boo’.
“I was really dreading we would have one of these today.” said Oceanside Battalion Chief, Terry Collis. “It’s always upsetting at anytime of year to see people lose things like this. It’s especially bad on Christmas Day.”
The Chief said the garage and its contents, which included two cars, was completely destroyed. “More than half of the house was affected by fire and the whole house was affected by heavy smoke.” continued the Chief , “The residents are going to be out of the house for a long time.”
An initial estimate of $200,000 damage on the home, no estimate on the contents or a vehicle in the driveway which also received damage. No reports of injuries to Oceanside or Camp Pendleton Firefighters who had the blaze knocked down in close to 20 minutes. The Red Cross was called to help the Caraballas. The Oceanside Fire Department has responded to over 20,000 incidents this year which make it the busiest year ever for the OFD.