The quick response by SFFD is being praised witnesses. More than 140 emergency personnel responded to the fire, and they responded quickly. That's being credited for not only reducing the spread of the flames and damage to other units, but also for reducing the number of people who were injured.
"I came out and I saw smoke just billowing out the front door." San Francisco resident Justin Porcano said.
Thick, black smoke could be seen pouring out of the multi-residential unit on Capp and 23th streets.
"They got to it quick, you know with these row homes, they go up quick and they jump from building to building," Porcano said. From his cell phone, he was able to capture the early stages of the structure fire that damaged five buildings and forced the evacuation of at least a dozen homes.
Cold and confused residents were forced to the street with little more than the clothes on their back.
One firefighter could be seen entering the second floor under a cloud of smoke with flames only a few feet away. The fire was aided by the close proximity of adjoining Victorians.
"I've seen fires like these that can easily go to 5th alarms," SFFD Deputy Chief of Operations Mark Gonzales said. "They did a good job getting to it quickly with an aggressive interior attack."
The blaze started in the lower level of the Victorian on Capp Street and spread to the other homes.
Firefighters say the blaze may have started in the rear, but stress that they're still in the early stages of their investigation.
One firefighter was transported to San Francisco General for dehydration and shoulder pain.
Burned and waterlogged wood was left piled at the doorstep, preventing anyone from entering a place that, until Saturday, at least six different families called home.
Officials say there were working smoke detectors, and also note that the time of day helped people evacuate the building quickly and safely.