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700 Flee Old Town Restaurant Fire

A popular Mexican restaurant in Old Town was damaged Monday night when a three-alarm fire raged through the kitchen.

An estimated 700 diners were forced to flee the well-known tourist attraction.

The first fire companies were dispatched at 8:49 p.m. to the Casa De Bandini, 2660 Calhoun St. When they arrived, they saw flame and smoke coming from the rear of the building and summoned reinforcements, said Capt. Larry Cooke, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire Department.

The flames burned the roof of the 162-year-old building before they could be extinguished, Cooke said.

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The Metro Arson Strike Team is investigating the cause of the blaze which reportedly was started when a hot-water heater pilot light ignited propane gas used for outdoor heaters.

The fire reportedly caused $150,000 damage.


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