Red Cross helping San Francisco's Mission District fire victims

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Red Cross is meeting with residents who were displaced from their apartment building after a massive fire broke out at at a tire store on 16th and Shotwell streets in San Francisco's Mission District early Sunday morning.

PHOTOS: Crews battle 3-alarm fire at Rolling Stock in SF's Mission District

The Red Cross said the fire victims include 12 families with six children. A food bank and the Salvation Army are standing by ready to offer help.

Broken glass and ashes were swept up Monday from the burned out Rolling Stock auto and tire store.

The fire was reported at 7:45 a.m. Flames throwing off huge plumes of thick black smoke could be seen for miles. "You could see through the courtyard the flames, just wall of flames," Foxy Linzmier said.

Linzmier said police broke down the door to wake her up and warned her to get out. Her apartment building was spared, but the one right next to the auto store sustained major damage and is now red tagged.

Nearly two dozen people were displaced by the fire. Oscar Lepe and his father Gregorio went to the apartment building Monday, but were not allowed inside their home of 41 years. "So one of the things we were worried about is whether we'll be able to come back after it's all taken care of," Lepe said.

Under city law, they have a right to return at the same rent, but it often takes so long before the building is fixed that tenants move on with their lives. San Francisco Supervisor David Campos represents the Mission District, which has recently had several major residential fires. He's considering measures to possibly change repair requirements. "Is there something that we can do to expedite that process because there are protections that are in place, but unless the property is repaired within a period of time, those protections become meaningless to the people who have been displaced," he said.

"I grew up in this city. I don't want to leave the city," one man said.

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