Massive fire in Chinatown displaces residents and business owners

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Multiple businesses and residents affected by massive fire on Stockton Street in San Francisco's Chinatown. (KGO-TV )

San Francisco Fire personnel were on the scene of a massive fire on Stockton Street for more than 12 hours Friday.

The fire was reported at 8 AM at a small market on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Stockton Street.

Firemen told ABC7 News that the scene was active for so long because of a 4-inch thick foam insulation in the basement.

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The market is also in the heart of Chinatown. People who live nearby to the fire took cell phone video of the scene.

San Francisco Fire's Assistant Chief Kevin Burke says when they ran into the flames, they were met with unexpected obstacles. "Subdivided storage, refrigerators, cabinets, and tight turns with zero visibility. It was a difficult fight," said Burke.

To make matters even more stressful, there were at least 20 senior citizens living on the top floor of the building who needed to be evacuated.

Mayor Ed Lee even came to the scene to assess the damage. "I am always concerned, whether it's the holidays or whatnot, that these fires. Luckily no one was hurt, but they do damage. Especially during the new years," said Mayor Lee.

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"I lost the money. I lost the business," said one of the fire victims.

The Mayor also sent city representatives to the scene to offer victims help from the city's small business relief fund.

"We designed this program to be fast. They don't have time to wait for insurance forms. We designed this fund to address the issue," said Todd Rufo, the Economic and Workforce Development Director for the city of San Francisco.

Many of the residents filled out the paperwork on the scene, which hopefully means relief will be coming soon.
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