Fire destroys building under construction near College Area

Flames and black smoke rise from a fire at a building under construction near the College Area. (Photo: Eli Wheeler)

SAN DIEGO -- An apartment complex under construction in Rolando went up in flames Monday, causing extensive damage, injuring one person and sending a thick column of black smoke into the sky near San Diego State University.

A roofer working with a torch accidentally ignited the blaze at 68th and Amherst streets about noon and was unable to put it out on his own, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

It took firefighters over an hour to fully extinguish the blaze, which engulfed two of the three structures at the site, SDFRD spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. Police closed down traffic lanes in the immediate area as crews worked to subdue the flames.

The worker who sparked the fire suffered only minor trauma and declined to be taken to a hospital, Munoz said.