Fire damages San Francisco nonprofit supporting up-and-coming inventors and entrepreneurs

Tara Campbell Image
Monday, May 6, 2024
Fire damages SF nonprofit supporting inventors and entrepreneurs
A San Francisco nonprofit cultivating up-and-coming inventors and entrepreneurs faces new challenges after a fire.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco nonprofit is trying to build a better Bay Area by cultivating up-and-coming inventors and entrepreneurs, but a recent fire has some wondering what's next.

"The smoke damage on the walls is pretty significant. The water reached around four to five inches," explained Ryan Spurlock, Founder and Executive Director of Humanmade; the nonprofit provides space, tools, and training to inventors and entrepreneurs.

"This is where the fire started, we believe we were told essentially it started right here in the power strip that burnt up the 3D printers there and a lot of the equipment in the middle section here," said Spurlock.

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"Obviously we were scared because of our robots there and everything," said Kyle Young, a high school senior. "But we knew the more important thing was Humanmade as a whole, because just the organization is really important to everyone that goes there."

Young found a passion for robotics at the nonprofit, and credits it with helping him build a 40 person team. "From learning how to build parts, write grants, and most importantly working with other people to build a project. It's been pretty life changing for all of us," said Young.

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Spurlock says the fire forced the nonprofit to take its training online.

"We're hands on program. So it's going to have a significant impact over the next month at least, as well as the businesses that really count on our space to run their day-to-day operations, or launch their product or their idea."

And, one of those people is Jonathan Pauli. He learned to build custom cabinets here after losing his tech job.

"They have some of the best CNC machines. You can get up there and people who are willing to help you learn the skills to use them and sort of fast track. So I was able to start my own little prototyping business after getting laid off," said Pauli.

"It'll be at least a month before anybody can get back in the space. And, for a lot of people with projects and, you know, customers, we don't want them to go somewhere else," he said.

In the meantime, they're hoping a GoFundMe campaign will help cover some of the upfront losses.

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