A three-alarm blaze sparked by a heater caused an estimated $5 million in damage at a condo building in the heart of downtown Boston this morning, fire officials said.
The fire was reported at 9:18 a.m. at 17 Commonwealth Ave., a five-story brownstone, the Boston Fire Department said in an official tweet. Just before 10 a.m., Fire Department commanders declared a third alarm.
Firefighters opened up the fourth-floor ceiling to get at the fire and chased fire in the walls, the department said.
Investigators determined that the cause of the fire was a radiant heater, mounted in the fourth-floor ceiling to heat a fifth-floor room, the department said.
Smoke poured out of the fourth and fifth floors, each of which constitute a single unit. Walsh said the occupants were on vacation. He said a total of about five people live in the building, which is in the upscale Back Bay area just down the street from the Public Garden and the Taj Boston hotel.
A major renovation is underway on the building next door, where a green tarp covered the facade, with about 30 workers on the site. Workers saw the smoke and also called authorities.