SAN DIEGO—The hillside brush fire that burned close to homes in Mount Hope Monday may be arson, according to fire officials.
The blaze began spreading shortly before 4 p.m. just south of state Route 94, near 39th Street, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Ground crews and personnel aboard a water-dropping helicopter were able to keep the flames from reaching residences on top of the hill, getting the burn area contained within 15 minutes, the department's Maurice Luque said.
At one point, neighbors gathered on the edge of the ridge to help fight the fire before crews arrived.
"There was a time I wasn't sure if we were gonna be able to knock in back," said apartment manager Steve Gautier.
Investigators decided that the blaze was "suspicious'' and may have been intentionally ignited, though the extent of burn damage at the apparent point of origin prevented a definitive determination on the cause, Luque said. An apartment complex near the brush fire was close to the danger but no structural damage or injuries were reported.
"It was quite a moment, actually I'll never forget it," said Gautier.