Fire ignited by plumber’s torch damages condo, authorities say

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SAN DIEGO — A fire sparked by a plumber’s torch tore through a University City condominium building Thursday afternoon, causing an estimated $600,000 worth of damage and leaving 16 people in need of interim lodging.

The non-injury blaze erupted about 1:30 p.m. in a second-floor bathroom at the residential complex in the 3900 block of Camino Calma, near Regents Road, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames pouring out of the top of the two-story building, which is one of several on the site, SDFRD spokesman Lee Swanson said. It took the personnel about 25 minutes to gain control of the blaze, which damaged one unit extensively and three others moderately, he said.

The American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents arrange for housing pending repairs.

Investigators set the monetary losses at $400,000 to the structure and $200,000 to contents.