SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco firefighters remained on the scene Thursday morning of a four-alarm fire that killed one man and all but destroyed a Mission District building housing dozens of apartments and businesses Wednesday evening, fire officials said.
The fire at the corner of 22nd and Mission streets killed one man and injured seven other people. Six were transported to a hospital, including a firefighter who suffered dehydration and five civilians who suffered minor to moderate injuries. One person declined to be taken to the hospital, fire officials said.
Reports of the blaze came in at 6:46 p.m. and arriving firefighters found flames shooting from the side of the building.
Investigators are looking into reports from residents that fire escapes were blocked and fire alarms in the building malfunctioned, complicating evacuations, according to the fire department.
“We are hearing that there are reports from witnesses that there were no audible alarms in the building that they heard, so without warning, there was a fire,” said Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. “Some of our firefighters had a difficult time accessing different residences, one person described it as maze-like, so that made it very difficult for us.”
The alarm system was last checked two years ago and was up to code at that time.
Surrounding buildings were evacuated as well Wednesday evening in case the fire spread.
The man killed by the fire managed to evacuate, but the injuries he suffered were so severe that he died at the scene, police said.
The building was left uninhabitable by the damage. Firefighters remain there this morning to make sure no flames flare up again, according to the fire department. Streets in the area are still blocked off for the fire crews.
“I’ve got a big 90 gallon fish tank in there that I’m hoping to get out if the fish are still alive,” said Elie Rothchild, who works in the building.
At least 40 residents of the building stayed at an American Red Cross shelter on the City College of San Francisco campus at 22nd and Bartlett streets Wednesday night, police said.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation and could take weeks to determine, fire officials said. However, police said arson does not appear to be a factor in the blaze.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials announced this morning that 14-Mission buses have been rerouted onto South Van Ness Avenue between 14th and 26th streets due to the fire. Buses on the 49-Mission line have also been rerouted onto South Van Ness Avenue between 14th and 26th streets.
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