Two buildings gutted, one family displaced after 3-alarm fire in SF

Two buildings were badly damaged and one family has been displaced after a three-alarm fire broke out in SF on Saturday.
November 24, 2013 12:52:54 PM PST
Two buildings are left gutted after a three-alarm fire broke out in San Francisco's Presidio Heights on Saturday afternoon.

Crews were called to the building near the intersection of Sacramento and Locust streets around 2:30 p.m.

The vintage buildings burned so fast, people barely had time to get out. Several businesses are closed and one family has been displaced.

Smoke and flames billowed from the buildings at the height of the fire. Witnesses say they heard popping coming from the alleyway between the buildings before the fire started.

"I was just concerned cause I saw people coming out of the buildings and people were just shell-shocked, they were so scared," witness Jaime Webber said. "So I was a little nervous. And it looked like it was traveling quickly, so that's why I was nervous. Orange flames were coming out of the roof. And as firefighters exposed more of the roof, more orange flames were coming out of the top."

The fire moved so fast crews attacked it from all sides, including the roof, the ground and even from inside.

"With wood frame constructed buildings and zero property lines, the buildings right up to one another, when a fire starts in between both buildings it gets into both buildings," Assistant Fire Chief Dave Franklin said.

It took less than an hour to knock out the fire. A large crane was brought in to fight the blaze from above as well as the ground.

There's heavy water damage inside Dolce & Salato Bar Italiano and Luna clothing store. The fire devoured what was inside the offices and apartments on the upper floors of the buildings.

"I hosed down my house because with shingles and I was hosing my trees because I was worried about ashes," resident Usha Burns said.

Just about everyone on Sacramento Street was worried and scared.

The owner of the Italian bar first got his customers out of the burning building and then got other business owners to evacuate.

"I ran into the store to put stuff into the safe because the safe is fire proof, but I didn't even put one thing to the safe before a knock on the door, 'go out, go out, run out,'" business owner Sabella Hutten said.

There are at least six apartments in both of the buildings. At least a couple of residents were inside the building when the fire broke out. The American Red Cross was called to provide temporary housing assistance for up to four people.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)

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