Officials pinpoint origin of San Francisco's Mission District fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Investigators said they pinpointed the location of a 5-alarm fire that broke out in San Francisco's Mission District on Saturday.

Officials said the fire broke out at a two-story building on Mission Street and spread quickly.

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As crews continue to clean up the debris from Saturday's fire, ABC7 News confirmed what many displaced residents suspected. "The building of origin is 3312 which is the Cole's Hardware store with residential above it. As to the exact spot within that building, that's still under investigation," San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said.

One of the immediate concerns when this fire broke out and one that remains from neighborhood residents is what seems to be a disturbing trend of devastating fires at low income, rent controlled buildings.

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But the fire department said they've never been able to find a nefarious link to this or any other Mission District fires, so far. "Past fires have been attributed to electrical issues, heating issues and human error issues," Baxter said.

Some residents were allowed to return home to retrieve belongings.

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Officials said 57 people were displaced, and half are from the corner building, a low income voucher hotel.

The property was damaged, but city agencies told ABC7 News it can be repaired so residents can eventually move back in.

Cole's Hardware will be torn down as a total loss and the same goes for the Playa Azul restaurant building.

Roberto Sanchez told ABC7 News he has 15 employees and he plans to pay them. So the sooner he can get a temporary space until they rebuild, the better. His is one of seven small businesses that remain closed.

They met with city and non-profit workers to help steer them to loans and other disaster aid programs.

There is one piece of good news as a building escaped damage almost completely.

Residents of 29 29th Street will be able to return home as soon as an electrical inspector and PG&E officials sign off on the building's gas and electrical system.
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