3-alarm fire tears through apartment building in San Francisco's NoPa; 2 firefighters, woman hurt

ByKarina Nova and Lena Howland via KGO logo
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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A large fire in San Francisco's NoPa neighborhood left two firefighters and one other person injured Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A large fire in San Francisco's NoPa neighborhood left two firefighters and a woman injured Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

The fire broke out just after noon near McAllister and Divisadero and quickly turned into a three-alarm fire, bringing in more than 100 firefighters from across the city.

"This fire is not being a typical fire where it's being put out quickly, it's doing what we call running the attic and chasing the walls where it actually moves through spaces in the walls and gets in through the attic," Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department said. "Newer homes that have newer fire code regulations don't necessarily have that issue."

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Flames damaged all three floors, including a business downstairs called Oasis, and the roof of the building.

"In this case, we had many issues with access ability, getting into the actual building and some obstructions within the building," Baxter said. "I don't know exactly what the obstructions were, but earlier, I used the example of boxes in a hallway, that's an example of what our firefighters were confronted with while trying to get to, what we call, the seed of the fire or where the fire is at."

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and a woman and three cats had to be rescued. The woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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"She is the hero of the day, she's in the third unit up there, she has two cats and she was able to get the cats, they were hiding, the smoke was coming through, they couldn't get out the hallway," Anita Beshirs, a friend of the woman rescued said. "She had to go to the roof with two cats and climb down that entire ladder to get to safety, so we're just blown away at her bravery and how she got out and just of course insanely grateful that she got out."

Beshirs says it was her friend, Tabitha Lahr, who was rescued through the roof with her two cats by firefighters. She brought an extra kitty litter to give to Lahr for her now displaced cats.

"One of them hid pretty deeply and she was so scared she wasn't going to be able to get the cat out and but she was able to do it all so and I cannot believe that my friend got down that ladder, I am not even afraid of ladders that much and that looks terrifying so we're amazed, and thankful and grateful," Beshirs said.

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She was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and has since been discharged.

The American Red Cross is working to help find all 13 displaced residents temporary housing.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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