Fire destroys two-story apartment building in Bankers Hill - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fire destroys two-story apartment building in Bankers Hill

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A fire apparently sparked by a smoldering cigarette tore through a historic Bankers Hill apartment building Tuesday, leaving nine renters in need of emergency lodging and causing an estimated $600,000 worth of property losses, authorities reported.

The non-injury blaze erupted shortly before 9:30 a.m. in a downstairs unit of the two-story converted home in the 1700 block of Second Avenue, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The three people inside the roughly 110-year-old structure at the time were able to get out unharmed, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.

It took 45 firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the intense flames, Luque said.

Preliminary evidence inside the charred seven-unit building indicated that a cigarette left burning inside an unoccupied ground-floor unit started the fire, according to investigators.

"We're satisfied it was accidental," Luque said.

The blaze caused about $450,000 in structural damage, mostly to the front of the building, and destroyed roughly $150,000 worth of contents, he said.

The American Red Cross will help the displaced residents arrange for interim housing.

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