Church Street is shut down, but firefighters have contained the blaze at 15th and Church Street, involving three apartment buildings.
The blaze started at 4:15 p.m. and quickly went to three-alarms. Smoke and flames got very intense. Windows at one of the apartment buildings were completely blown out.
One firefighter on scene suffered smoke inhalation but will be ok. There were no injuries to any tenants.
About a dozen people got out of the burning buildings but a housecat was found in one unit, suffering from smoke inhalation.
It was unresponsive for a while but then given oxygen and revived.
The owner of one of the ground-floor mini marts got out just in time, moments after the fire began. "He comes running, 'Mr. Yousef! There is a fire.' And also right away, the electric cut off. I went outside and there was big flame and fires. I called 9-1-1 and I was disturbed because I didn't want anything damaged inside," storeowner Yousef Elhaj recalled.
"Heavy fire on second and third floor in this building. Heavy fire second and third floor of that building. It went in there and did an aggressive interior attack and they actually prevented it from spreading to more buildings down on Church and 15th," SF Deputy Fire Chief Mark Gonzales said.
Firefighters did what they could to stop the fire but there was extensive damage to at least six units.
Red Cross was on scene to help those that were displaced. The cause of this blaze is still under investigation.