Fire in attic damages Haight home

July 20, 2011 9:42:50 PM PDT
Flames shoot through the roof of a home in the lower Haight on Wednesday night.

Dozens of firefighters worked to keep the flames from spreading to the two adjoining, attached homes. Around 9 p.m. firefighters got the fire under control. It was a stubborn fire because it was burning in the attic and threatening to take out the whole block.

The fire started around 6:30 p.m. in the Lower Haight near Fillmore and Waller Street. The two-story building is a typical wood-frame home, but firefighters couldn't get to the fire that was burning in the attic that had several compartments, so for an hour it billowed smoke all over the neighborhood.

When flames finally broke out, neighbors on both sides got very concerned.

"You can see the flames getting really, really close to our building and also, the firemen went into our office and took access to the wall, so they must have seen the fire spreading," said resident Neal O'Mara.

"I didn't notice flames before in the front of the house and now I'm seeing them and that really is concerning," said resident Barbara Stein.

"These are wood-frame buildings and they're like tinderboxes and on a windy night, tonight is moderately windy, if a fire gets going, you literally lose the whole block because there is zero lot line separation, these buildings are all attached," said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Neighbors say there is a couple that lives on the first floor and a single tenant that lives on the top floor, all are musicians that are out of town. Witnesses say firefighters rescued a cat but there were no reports of any injuries.

One person who called the fire in said he noticed a tree in the backyard engulfed in flames, but at this point fire investigators still aren't sure exactly how it all started.

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