San Francisco FF injured at 5-alarm blaze

More than 160 firefighters battled the massive blaze affecting multiple structures

Amy Graff
SFGate, San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — A massive fire tore through multiple structures in San Francisco's Mission District near the Central Freeway Tuesday morning, officials said.

The fire was reported about 7 a.m. Tuesday, and quickly escalated from a two-alarm fire to a five-alarm incident impacting six buildings, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

More than 160 firefighters helped battle flames that rose high into the air and were visible from the freeway. A towering cloud of black smoke could be seen from across the Bay Area at the start of the fire.

Falling power lines impeded firefighting efforts, said Victor Wyrsch, SFFD deputy chief of operations.

One firefighter suffered a head injury and was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. He was released by Tuesday afternoon and is expected to recover.

The fire is centered on the northern tip of the Mission District between 13th and 14th streets and South Van Ness and Folsom streets.

Six buildings were affected by the fires, according to the Fire Department. The Bartfeld Sales Co. at 140 14th St. was reportedly destroyed in the conflagration. The 73-year-old family business was housed in a warehouse containing flammable building materials. KCBS Radio reported a roofing company was also damaged. A sheriff’s office training and administrative office was also affected by the flames, according to the Associated Press, but a deputy managed to remove ammunition from the basement as the fire grew closer to the building. Firefighters, however, were able to stop the fire from reaching that building's roof.

The fire closed the Van Ness on-ramp to southbound 101 and a portion of South Van Ness, and stalled traffic on the Central Freeway.

More than 2,200 people were without power Tuesday morning due to the blaze, and several people were initially trapped in elevators in nearby buildings, the Associated Press reported. PG&E further turned off power in the area. The forward progress of the fire was halted by the afternoon, and Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson told Bay City News that fire crews would remain at the scene to battle hot spots.

At least three people were displaced by the fire. Others who are affected can go to 1745 Folsom St. for assistance from the American Red Cross, according to SFFD.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.


©2020 SFGate, San Francisco


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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