SAN DIEGO : Fire Forces Families Out of Apartments

Five families were driven from their apartments Monday after a fire that began at a house next door spread to their City Heights apartment complex, fire officials said.

The fire started at a house in the 3200 block of 44th Street and spread to the 12-unit apartment complex, where flames severely damaged two apartments, and smoke and water moderately damaged three other units, a San Diego Fire Department spokesman said. One resident suffered from smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was taken to a hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

Discarded smoking materials were blamed for starting the fire, which caused $35,000 damage to the house and $80,000 damage to the apartment building and contents, a fire spokesman said.

Red Cross spokeswoman Nancy Jordan said three of the families were moved into vacant apartments undamaged by the fire.

The Red Cross has provided shoes, beds and other supplies to some of the families, and the organization provided another family with a hotel room, Jordan said.

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