(The Blaze/AP) -- Detectives searched the scorched remains of a San Diego County home as they looked to learn whether a suspect who police said shot and wounded an officer had died in a fire or escaped.
The violence erupted after two El Cajon police officers responded shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday to a caller who said he saw a man with a gun who had started a fire, police Lt. Mark Coit said. One of the first two officers who responded was hit by gunfire that came from the house, he said.
The other officer, who was not injured, pulled the wounded officer to a safety, Coit said. The wounded officer was stable and alert after arriving at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Coit said, and later underwent surgery. His name was not released. Still, NBCSanDiego.com says the officer remains in critical condition.
CBS 8 has Video of the dramatic stand off:
After the shooting, the fire surged out of control, and firefighters with police protection and aid from a water-dropping helicopter put it out at about 7 p.m., Heartland Fire spokesman Sonny Saghera said.
Several homes in the area were evacuated and eastbound Interstate 8 was shut down while the fire burned. The freeway was reopened after about 90 minutes.
A SWAT team surrounded the house for much of the night, but turned the scene over to detectives when they determined it was safe, Coit said. He said no bodies had been found at the scene, and investigators were looking for the suspect or more victims.
"We will continue to investigate until we have definitely determined where he is, or whether he perished in the fire or got out," Coit said.
Police received reports that two people were shot inside the house, but they have not been able to confirm them, Coit said.
Officers from San Diego, National City and Chula Vista, and deputies from the Sheriff's Department were also at the scene to assist.
El Cajon is a suburb 15 miles northeast of San Diego.
Neighbor Pam Gatar who lives about a block from the scene said she was outside when she heard officers exchange fire with the suspect.
"We were walking towards the corner, and we start hearing gunshots, and we don't understand why," Gatar said. "There had to have been at least 15, 20 shots fired. Then we saw the police."
Richard Ogunsalu, who lives in the same complex as Gatar, was in the shower when he heard sirens and ran outside to see police everywhere and the house burning.
"I saw about 30 police cars, it was like martial law in the streets, man," Ogunsalu said. "There was black roaring smoke in the sky, it was crazy, it just kept coming up. It was like a movie man, it was surreal."