Huge Fire Burns San Francisco Building Under Construction

By  | 

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — More than 100 firefighters are tackling a five-alarm blaze that is burning at a building under construction in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood Tuesday evening, a fire department employee said.

The blaze was reported at 4:56 p.m. at Fourth and China Basin streets, according to a fire dispatcher.

No injuries have been reported, the employee said.

One woman who lives in an apartment directly facing the building on fire told KCBS her window cracked and her room started to fill with smoke. She grabbed her dog and ran out.

The apartment building manager of that neighboring building said she thought she would have to call the Red Cross for assistance with what she estimated would be 30 residents who would be displaced due to broken windows and smoke damage.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told reporters at the scene that the fire was contained to the building of origin, and that firefighters were performing an aggressive attack on the building on fire.

The chief said she’s glad that firefighters have been able to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby buildings.

“This is a great save right here,” she said.

According to Hayes-White, the building’s sprinkler system was not yet installed.

Looking to prevent the fire from spreading, Hayes-White said, “We applied water curtains to cool the buildings close by.”

“We are in a defensive mode,” the chief said. She calling the approach to fighting the fire as “surround and drown.”

Hayes-White said the possibility for collapse is very likely and that firefighters have set up a perimeter around the expected collapse zone.

The chief said Tuesday night that firefighters were getting the upper hand, but the fire was not yet contained. “We’ll be here another few hours at least,” Hayes-White said.

Buildings under construction with like this are, “…like a pile of kindling waiting to go up,” said retired San Jose Fire Captain Vincent Scortino, who fought a massive condominium fire at Santana Row in 2002.

Black smoke from the fire was billowing above the area and was widely seen around the Bay Area.

The construction site, located near AT&T Park, is a complex managed by BRE Properties Inc. According to published reports, the building was slated to become condominiums with an expected sale price of $630,000.

A construction worker named Jim, who did not give his last name, told KPIX 5 that workers left the building about 2 hours before the fire started.

The worker said the lower two floors of the 172-unit building were made of concrete, while the upper floors were made of wood.

The cause of the fire is not known.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.