A fire that destroyed a house and damaged four adjoining homes in Kensington early yesterday was arson, officials said.

The fire broke out about 4:12 a.m. on the 900 block of East Ontario Street, and firefighters needed an hour to bring it under control. Residents told local TV news stations that the target had been used as a drug house and had been the subject of numerous complaints.

An injured woman was taken to a hospital, but her condition could not be determined.

The fire was set when unspecified combustibles at the house were torched, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said in a statement. The police arson squad is investigating.- Joseph A. Gambardello