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San Diego

A workman’s torch was blamed for a late-morning fire that swept through the rear of an 83-year-old house downtown Thursday, San Diego fire officials said.

A man working on a second-floor patio started the blaze when his torch accidentally ignited the rear wall, fire officials said. About 15 people were evacuated when the fire spread inside and burned into the attic.

It took firefighters 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze. Damage was estimated at $35,000.

The house, a three-story wood-frame structure in the 2200 block of 5th Avenue that is used for offices, was built in 1903, fire officials said. Local historic preservation officials said the house is not a historic building.

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