sffd_fire.jpgA fire that started at a Mexican restaurant near San Francisco’s Civic Center and spread to multiple residences above it on Sunday has been deemed accidental, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The two-alarm blaze was reported at about 11:55 a.m. Sunday at the Taqueria El Castillito located at 370 Golden Gate Ave.

Fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the fire started in a flue at the restaurant and spread to eight upstairs units on five different floors before being extinguished at 12:39 p.m.

The blaze was initially reported by police who spotted it and helped evacuate residents, Talmadge said.

The American Red Cross responded and assisted 12 adults and four children who were displaced by the fire. Everyone was able to find alternative housing except for three people, who were placed in a hotel overnight, Red Cross spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw said.

The fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the building and about $230,000 to the property inside the restaurant and residences, Talmadge said.

An employee at another El Castillito branch in the Mission District said he did not know when–or if–the Golden Gate Avenue location would reopen.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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