Supervisor raises questions about massive fire in San Francisco's North Beach

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A four-alarm fire in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach is under control, but now the city supervisor who represents the neighborhood is raising questions about the fire department's response. (KGO-TV)

A four-alarm fire in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach is under control, but now the city supervisor who represents the neighborhood is raising questions about the fire department's response.

The massive blaze engulfed the building Saturday night, which stands at the corner of Powell and Columbus. The top floors are vacant apartments, while there are five businesses on the bottom floor.

VIDEO: Massive fire erupts at building in San Francisco's North Beach
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A massive fire erupted at a building in San Francisco's North Beach on St. Patrick's Day. Here's a look at some of the most powerful imagery.



Crews first took an offensive mode and attacked the fire from the inside, but soon had to pull out and fight the blaze from above and from the street.

"There was fire on the ground floor that came through the stairs underneath the guys on the second floor, so (we) decided to pull these guys out," said SFFD Deputy Chief Mark Gonzalez.

Witness Naje Williams added, "One minute everyone was out here celebrating St. Patrick's Day, the next it was Dante's Inferno craziness."


North Beach was packed for the holiday. A lot of restaurants were evacuated and streets all around the fire were blocked off.

While crews managed to stop the fire from moving into neighboring buildings, and there were no injuries, there is criticism from Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents this district.


"With my own eyes they completely, totally failed to address this working fire in a quick, official way," he said. "And you can ask any of the people here who watched it from the beginning, the San Francisco Fire Department has failed San Francisco tonight."

"Once we determined that we had no more life safety problems we pulled everyone out out of an abundance of caution, that's what we do," said SFFD Chief Joanne Hayes-White. "And I'm not going to get into too much more, but I'd just like to say that we are professional firefighters, we know what we're doing."

Still, Peskin is calling for an investigation and hearings.

In the meantime, the city vows to help all of those impacted by Saturday night's fire.

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SFFDfirebuilding fireSan Francisco
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