San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco firefighters on Wednesday continued to pour water on hot spots in the huge blaze that destroyed or damaged six buildings near the Central Freeway, while investigators searched for clues on what caused the inferno.
The fire, which ignited at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, jumped from building to building in the two-block neighborhood where the Mission District meets South of Market. Two commercial buildings were destroyed while four more were seriously damaged, said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a Fire Department spokesman.
Baxter said that firefighters extinguished a small mattress fire at 11:30 p.m. Monday in a homeless encampment on Erie Street, behind a 14th Street building supply store that burned in Tuesday’s inferno. Officials are looking into any possible connection.
“At this point, to say that there is (a connection) would only be speculative,” Baxter said.
The buildings that burned in Tuesday’s fire are mainly commercial businesses, though one is an artists’ collective where three people were displaced from their homes. The American Red Cross is helping the residents find housing.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the fire, but he has been released from the hospital and is in good condition, Baxter said.
Buildings destroyed or damaged in the fire stretched from 14th Street to Erie Street. They collapsed on each other as they burned, leaving huge piles of smoldering debris that are difficult to distinguish, Baxter said. Firefighters were expected to remain on the scene for two to three more days on “fire watch” to put out hot spots.
The Fire Department may need to bring in heavy machinery to move the debris and give firefighters better access to douse hot spots with water, Baxter said. A similar process took place after the May 24
fire that leveled fishing and maritime businesses at Pier 45 on Fisherman’s Wharf.
Vehicles and pedestrians will be barred from the 100 block of 14th Street to make way for firefighters and investigators for the rest of the week, Baxter said.
©2020 the San Francisco Chronicle
Visit the San Francisco Chronicle at www.sfchronicle.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.