SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A 4-alarm fire broke out in a South San Francisco warehouse Friday afternoon, sending black smoke across the city not long after fire crews contained a grass fire near the South San Francisco sign.
The baking facility and warehouse of Raison D’Etre Bakery on 179 Starlite Street erupted into flames Friday afternoon, just miles from a grass fire burning on the flank of San Bruno Mountain.
The two fires were unrelated but many business owners and residents couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
“Right when that finishes up, I’m coming down and I see this one and I go ‘wait a minute what’s going on here?’” said San Bruno resident Michael Bacigalupi.
As crews battled the vegetation fire to the north, they spotted the warehouse fire.
“One of the companies noticed and saw something. We started sending crews down here at the same time we were getting reports there was a fire here,” said Jess Magallanes of the South San Francisco fire department.
“Within seconds it caught on fire and flames were up to the sky,” said Martin Perez of Roofline Supply and Building.
Fire officials say more than 18 engines were battling the fire on Sign Hill. More than 18 engines also arrived to attack the blaze at Raison D’Etre, a bakery that’s operated in the Bay Area for more than 25 years. The owners could only watch after escaping the burning building.
“The initial resources were here fairly quickly but they were quickly overwhelmed,” Magallanes said.
A South San Francisco fire department spokesperson said fire engines arriving on scene were delayed about a minute and half.
“A good portion of people were fighting the fire in the north on the hill,” Magallanes explained. “We started moving resources from the south to backfill those stations that don’t have resources because they’re at the incident just in case of something like this.”
“Two fires within an hour so everybody is getting a workout today. Without these firemen where would we be? We’re grateful for these guys,” Bacigalupi said.
A significant portion of the 22,500 square foot baking facility is destroyed but no injuries were reported.
The fire didn’t spread to other businesses and firefighters will remain on scene to keep watch for hot spots.
Officials investigating the cause of the fire say it appears it started in a part of the warehouse where ovens are used.