Man who died in massive Mission District fire identified

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, January 30, 2015
Officials investigate cause of Mission District fire
Officials investigate cause of Mission District fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's an emotional day for residents burned out of their homes in that massive San Francisco fire in the Mission District.

They thought they'd be allowed back into the building for the first time since the massive fire on Wednesday night, but building inspectors notified them they will not be able to go inside to retrieve their belongings anytime soon.

PHOTOS: Deadly fire in SF's Mission District

A structural engineer still has to access the building to make sure it is safe. There are too many airborne particles inside that may be harmful,so human services has to conduct a number of tests.

The San Francisco Unified School District said 15 school-aged children were impacted by the fire.

Alessandro Gonzalez is one of them. He was forced to drop his dog out a window then jump himself.

A GoFundMe account has been created where people can help by making a donation.

VIDEO: Dog found alive after deadly SF fire

Meanwhile, the man who died as a result of that fire has been identified as Mauricio Orellana, a resident from El Salvador and member of a local church.

He was the only person who died in Wednesday night's fire. On Friday, displaced residents gathered in front of the building, many who are still in disbelief. "It's hard, that was my home for the last 12 years, now I don't have a home," Marcela Cordova said.

"Due to some of the safety concerns of the second floor, at this time there will be no access to the second floor," Office of Economic and Workforce Development spokesperson Joaquin Torres said.

RAW VIDEO: Mission fire from ground level

Those words disappointed many residents who had hoped to get inside the damaged building to collect some of their personal belongings.

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection says it would be irresponsible to allow any of the 54 residents back inside, even for a few minutes.

"A building this old and I believe it dates from 1907, it may contain lead and it may contain asbestos," Department of Building Inspection spokesperson William Strawn said.

Meanwhile, residents have been offered temporary shelter at the Salvation Army, but many are staying with family members. By law, they will have the option of returning when the building is fully repaired, which many take up to two years.

"They have a right to first refusal so that means when they fix the building, they have to be offered those availability first," Mission Economic Development Agency spokesperson Gabriel Medina said.

The only ones allowed in the building were business owners on the lower level who were given only a few minutes to collect their stuff. This time many came with shopping carts to load up what they could.

Many also met with several agencies who were offering advise and contact information.

"We have a business development program team offering assistance to make sure we can find any dislocated businesses, new locations," Medina said.

The Mission Economic Development Agency called Meda announced it has four temporary spaces available for any business that can move in immediately. The cost per month is $1.

The fire department is still determining the cause of the fire. On Friday, the building department said previous inspections found no code violations and the telescopic ladders did what they were supposed to do.

Money is being raised for the victims on So far, more than $30,000 has been raised. Also, local business Doc's Clock will hold a fundraising event on Saturday to help the families. That event starts at 4 p.m.

Donations can also be sent to the San Francisco chapter of the Red Cross.