A cigarette ignited a car fire that damaged an apartment complex in Normal Heights. Photo courtesy of the SDFRD

A smoking mishap sparked a fire that destroyed a car and damaged two residential structures in Normal Heights on Tuesday afternoon, authorities reported.

The non-injury blaze in the 4600 block of 32nd Street broke out shortly before 2 p.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

It took crews about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames, SDFRD Capt. Joe Amador said.

A man who lives in the area told firefighters he had just parked in an alley carport at his apartment complex and was unloading his vehicle when a cigarette he was smoking set the sedan ablaze, apparently igniting fumes from charcoal lighter fluid he had spilled in the vehicle during a trip to the beach on Monday.

The fire gutted the vehicle and scorched the carport, the apartment building and a next-door house, Amador said.

Investigators set the combined monetary losses at $225,000.

— City News Service

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