An explosion and the resulting fire caused by flammable vapors injured three people and left about a dozen people temporarily homeless at the Loma Highlands Apartments in the 2100 block of Chatsworth Boulevard on June 14, according to fire officials.
The blaze erupted shortly after 2:30 p.m. after a contractor working on an unventilated bathroom on the second floor of the three-story complex inadvertently triggered the explosion.
The contractor was transported to the hospital with burns, said authorities. His condition and extent of injuries was not released.
According to Lee Swanson, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, a bathtub was being refinished and vapors were ignited by electrical equipment used by the refinisher.
About 60 firefighters were dispatched to the scene and the blaze was knocked down about 3 p.m., said Swanson.
One police officer was tranported for treatment of smoke inhalation and a female resident complained of dizziness and shortness of breath and was also transported for treatment, Swanson said.
Swanson said the three-story apartment building contained 28 units, two on the street level and 12 and 14 units on the upper floors.
One unit is heavily damaged and the adjoining unit and much of that level has smoke damage, Swanson said. The unit above the apartment where the fire was contained had smoke damage and some fire damage to the balcony.
The Red Cross is now assisting 20 to 25 people in finding temporary housing.
Damage is estimated at $300,000.
KILLER PLEADS GUILTY AFTER PSYCHIATRIC EXAM
A psychiatric patient who killed his roommate at the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital on Rosecrans Street in 2012 will be sentenced Sept. 5 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
The trial for Bart Clement Schufer, 34, was set for June 16, but he pleaded guilty last week before San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth. He admitted he mortally wounded Robert King, 53, on March 17, 2012.
Schufer, who is also known as Bart Schafer, also pleaded guilty to committing torture upon King, who suffered severe head and brain injuries.
Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said Monday Schufer faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and two months in state prison. Schufer withdrew his insanity plea with his attorney present.
It was Schufer who reported King’s injury, telling staff King had fallen down. Paramedics evaluated him and rushed him to a trauma center. King died eight days later. Schufer remains in jail on $750,000 bail.
The last time a patient was killed by another patient at the facility, at 3851 Rosecrans St., was in 1986.
— Neal Putnam
POLICE HUNTING ROBBERY SUSPECT IN MIDWAY BANK ROBBERY
Authorities are seeking the public’s help for information leading to a robber who struck the Union Bank at 3261 Sports Arena Blvd. around 10:30 a.m. on June 7.
The man reportedly walked up to a teller and verbally demanded cash. The teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money.
No weapons were seen.
The suspect fled out of the bank into the parking lot toward the Target store. The suspect was described as a white male in his late 30s, 6 feet tall, 180 lbs,, with a tattoo of a 107 or 187 over his left eyebrow and a tattoo of a teardrop on his left check.
The suspect was wearing a gray T-shirt and white shorts.
VOLUNTEERS TO UNITE FOR ‘RED SHOE DAY’ CAMPAIGN
More than 1,000 volunteers are expected to participate in “Red Shoe Day,” benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, on
Thursday, June 26.
Volunteers wearing festive attire and carrying iconic red shoes will be stationed at major intersections in local neighborhoods, including those listed below to collect cash donations.
• Rosecrans St. / Nimitz Blvd.
• Sunset Cliffs Blvd. / Newport Ave.
• Sunset Cliffs Blvd. / W. Point Loma Blvd.
• W. Point Loma Blvd. / Nimitz Blvd.
• Sea World Dr. / Friars Rd.
• Rosecrans St. / Lytton St.
• Sports Arena / Camino Del Rio W / Rosecrans St.
• Sports Arena / W. Mission Bay Dr. / Midway Dr.
• Rosecrans St. / Wombie Rd.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego encourages the San Diego community to look for volunteers at major intersections on “Red Shoe Day” and donate cash that will help families in medical crises.
Roughly 1,500 volunteers donning festive attire, toting signs and carrying iconic red shoes will be stationed at major roadside intersections hollering for donations during the morning commute from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Cash collected goes to San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House, which provides a home away from home for families with a critically ill or injured child being treated at a local hospital.
Residents who don’t pass through one of the intersections manned with volunteers on June 26 can support San Diego’s Ronald McDonald House by donating online.
Visit www.rmhcsd.org to make a donation or to set up a personal fundraising page to collect donations from friends and family. Some Red Shoe Day volunteer opportunities may still be available. Visit www.rmhsd.org/-RedShoeDay to sign up.
SOBRIETY WALK SLATED FOR JUNE 21 AT LIBERTY STATION
McAlister Institute will hold its third annual 5K Walk for Sobriety (www.walkforsobriety.com) on Saturday, June 21 at NTC Park at Liberty Station.
With help from its media sponsor, KyXy, and emcee Tommy Sablan from the Jeff & Jer Show, the event will celebrate a clean and sober lifestyle and generate awareness for treatment.
Proceeds from the walk will benefit McAlister Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the compassionate care and treatment of individuals and families suffering from addiction, mental illness and homelessness.
“We’re excited to invite the San Diego community to join us in a celebration of hope and recovery,” said Jeanne McAlister, founder and CEO of McAlister Institute and San Diego’s Mental Health Person of the Year for 2010. “Addiction and its devastating effects seem to have a strong presence in the media, so we want to give recovery a voice, too. Our goal is to reshape the conversation and to focus on solutions.”
Walkers, runners and online supporters will help increase awareness and support the power of recovery by wearing the number of days they — or their loved ones — have clean and sober and what it means to them.
To join the Walk for Sobriety, visit www.walkforsobriety.com. Registration is $35, with an option to fundraise, and all proceeds benefit McAlister Institute’s 27 treatment programs.
To become an event sponsor, email email@example.com.