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Fire marshal: Fatal Lowell blaze was started by a plumbing torch

One person died after a four-alarm fire sparked by a plumbing torch ripped through a Lowell apartment building Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

An elderly man making repairs with the torch in a bathroom on the second floor of the Central Street building is believed to have started the fire by accident. The body that was found this morning is likely the man, the State Fire Marshal’s office said in a statement. The state’s medical examiner will conduct the official identification.

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Firefighters battling heavy flames were unsuccessful at retrieving the man, the Lowell Fire Department said.

The building had an ethnic market on the first floor, and residences on the second and third floors.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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