Building may have housed illegal operation

May 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco police are investigating whether there was a pot farm inside a Bayview District warehouse that burned to the ground.

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Part of the building collapsed on a firefighter who suffered burns and broken leg. As disturbing as the video is, the fire department says his injuries are not life threatening.

Investigators say they found an illegal converter box bypassing the building's electric meter, which is often a sign of an illegal drug operation.

The fire forced the owner of a nearby dog kennel, Doggie Daycare, to evacuate 13 pets under their care. None of the pets were injured and the kennel re-opened a few hours later. Their facility was not damaged.

Earlier in the day it was reported that the fire broke out just before 5:00 a.m. in an industrial area where Highways 101 and 280 meet.

Flames engulfed the building, shooting into the air. Commuters could see the flames and smoke from the freeways.

Firefighters were forced to cut into the building to get inside to fight it. Then, part of the building facade collapsed onto a firefighter. He broke his leg and suffered second degree burns.

"A warehouse fire is a dangerous fire depending on what the combustibles are burning inside as well as the complexity of this fire and trying to get around it and suppressing it," said San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Ken Smith.

The official cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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