FF injured, engine damaged in massive San Francisco pier blaze
More than 150 firefighters battled the blaze that threatened a WWII-era ship and museum
Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.
SAN FRANCISCO — Early Saturday morning, 150 firefighters battled a massive blaze that threatened historical treasures along San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf — an effort that left a firefighter injured and damaged a fire engine.
The fire, reported at 4:15 a.m., quickly tore through a large warehouse at the end of Pier 45. One firefighter who responded to the scene suffered a severe laceration to his hand, said San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Baxter. No other injuries were reported.
Responding by land and by boat, firefighters scrambled to save the nearby Musée Mécanique — an interactive museum of 20th-century arcade games and mechanical machines — the World War II-era SS Jeremiah O’Brien, and other beloved tourist destinations.
“We made it a priority to make sure we protected those buildings,” Baxter said. “And we did that successfully.”
Firefighters managed to keep the fire from spreading beyond the warehouse — a facility with offices for tourist ferry operations including the Blue & Gold Fleet and the Red and White Fleet. It also was used as storage for fishing businesses.
The warehouse was engulfed, sending up shooting flames and clouds of thick smoke visible for miles.
The pier beneath the warehouse was damaged as well, and the fire department was working with the port to assess the structural integrity of the pier.
A fire engine — Truck Company 13 — sustained heat damage. It was one of the first vehicles to respond to the blaze, and upon arrival, its crew set up a wall of water to protect the seafood warehouses to the west of the fire. A fireboat helped as well, and the other warehouses were spared.
“Their efforts and their tactics were key right at the beginning of this, making sure that this did not spread to multiple warehouses,” Baxter said.
There is no word yet on what started the fire.
“That will take days if not weeks,” Baxter said.
First-responders closed the Embarcadero to traffic from Powell to Taylor streets and evacuated the pier. Coast Guard and police marine units responded to the waterfront to control boat traffic in the area.
©2020 the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Good morning San Francisco. #SFFD units have been on scene at Pier 45 since 4am this morning working on a 4th alarm #fire. They will be here for a while. Please avoid the area #yoursffd pic.twitter.com/VsslRhCV0Q— San Francisco Firefighters 798 (@SFFFLocal798) May 23, 2020
St.Francis to the rescue! No way we could of been as successful as we were this morning without our fireboat the St. Francis. A dedicated marine response is essential to a City surround on 3 sides by water. @AaronPeskin @LondonBreed @sfbos #yoursffd pic.twitter.com/LG9xwdTfuZ— San Francisco Firefighters 798 (@SFFFLocal798) May 24, 2020
Thank you to all who helped with the extinguishment of this now under control 4th Alarm Fire at Pier 45 C. 1 Firefighter Injured (will be okay) at least 3 businesses impacted, fire remains under investigation pic.twitter.com/cL4txfG4o1— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) May 23, 2020
Thank you for the mention Chief https://t.co/fRpujuPJvX— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) May 24, 2020