back bay fire boston Fire fighters enter the Commonwealth Avenue building via a ladder.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO

A Commonwealth Avenue building was severely damaged by a fire this morning that raced through the duct work and walls of the brownstone.

Fire crews were called to 17 Commonwealth Ave. just after 9 a.m., according to the fire department. When crews arrived they found smoke coming from the five-story building.

The fire appeared to be on the fifth floor and then spread into the duct work and walls of the building. Fire fighters opened up the ceiling to try to extinguish the three-alarm blaze.

 

The building houses three condo units and only the resident of the third-floor unit was home at the time. He managed to get out safely, according to the fire department. There were no reports of injuries.

Fire officials estimated that the blaze caused $5 million in damage.

Investigators were at the scene this morning trying to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.

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