The Region

Careless smoking was the suspected cause of a dawn blaze in a third-floor room at downtown Santa Barbara's Old Towne Inn, a smoky fire that forced 40 residents out of the aging building, authorities said. There was one minor injury--slight facial burns--but smoke detectors gave residents ample time to evacuate, Fire Chief Sam Dumas said. "It was going pretty good when we got there," Dumas said. "It burned one room and through the walls to the fourth floor. There was extensive damage to two rooms on the third and fourth floors." A damage estimate was not available. The cause of the blaze was believed to be careless cigarette smoking, he said.

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