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Student experiences apartment fire a week before graduation


Last updated 6/9/2021 at 11:10am

An apartment building in Vista suffered a large fire that is currently under investigation, May 29. One of the families affected was the Chrisholms.

Jamie Chrisholm had been a Fallbrook resident for 39 years before relocating to Vista last month, but her family has been a part of the community for over 60 years. She has two children, Anthony, 14, and Elliot, 18, who graduated from Fallbrook High on June 3.

At 12:30 a.m., the family was awakened suddenly to a neighbor knocking on their door and warning them about the fire on the deck below. They grabbed their dog, Solita, and rushed out of the apartment without any of their other belongings.

According to Jamie Chrisholm, it was a close call.

“As I walked out, I heard a big fire explosion behind me,” she said. “We waited outside for hours, but our neighbors were very helpful and generous.”

Her son Anthony has autism, and Chrisholm said that it was a scary situation for him to be in.

“Anthony handled the fire okay, but change does scare him so suffering a fire after just recently moving to the apartment has been a hard adjustment. It’s a lot of change,” she said. “Luckily, the firefighters were able to retrieve his asthma medications, and they also grabbed some of our clothes.”

Recent graduate Elliot Chrisholm also experienced a significant amount of added stress because of the apartment fire. Along with worrying about graduation and the end of his high school career, he worried about his home and all of his belongings being damaged during the fire.

The Chrisholms worried about whether or not they would be able to retrieve his cap and gown for graduation, but they were able to go back and get the regalia after the fire.

“My cap and gown were both damaged by smoke, but salvageable,” he said. “It was stressful but I’m doing better now.”

The fire spread to the balcony where a storage locker filled with family photos and keepsakes were located, and the Chrisholms are still unsure as to what memorabilia survived the fire.

Currently, the Chrisholms are living in a hotel room until they can move back into their apartment. Jamie Chrisholm’s sister, Jacquie Miller, began a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money for the family and to help pay for the many belongings that will need to be replaced due to smoke damage.

“This has been such a stressful situation, and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to move back into the apartment or if we’ll need to find a new one. We haven’t been able to go back yet,” said Jamie Chrisholm. “We would appreciate any help from the community.”

To donate to the Chrisholm family, visit the GoFundMe at


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