Crews work overnight to remove scaffolding from charred SF construction site after fire

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Crews work to remove scaffolding from SF construction site fire
Officials say it's now the responsibility of the owner of the construction site that went up in flames to get the area cleaned up.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Twenty-four hours after a huge fire destroyed an apartment building that was under construction in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, crews are still trying to figure out the cause.

The 4-alarm fire damaged four surrounding homes and displaced at least six people on Tuesday morning.

It happened near Oak St. and Octavia Blvd. in San Francisco.

VIDEO: Concerns about fires around fully-engulfed SF construction site were raised months ago

While investigation remains ongoing after a construction site fire in San Francisco's Hayes Valley, neighbors say fire concerns were raised months ago

Crews worked through the night Tuesday into Wednesday morning to try to remove hazardous scaffolding still left behind.

"That scaffolding went way high up in the air and it looked like it was hard for them to get it apart, they were banging on everything," Robert Sleker, a neighbor said.

Sleker, a neighbor who has lived a few doors down for more than three decades smelled the smoke and prepared for the worst as he went outside to record video Tuesday morning.

"With me, I didn't think of it at first, but I have a lot of collectibles in here and low and behold if the fire would have gotten over here, this place would have gone up, like just grab my cats and get out of here," he said.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, San Francisco fire officials confirm there have been outside fires in this general Hayes Valley area in the past.

VIDEO: SF construction site goes up in flames, displacing several neighbors

Video shows scaffolding collapse in a massive 4-alarm structure fire in San Francisco's Hayes Valley that spread to four other buildings and even cracked windows across the street.

Jenn Laska, President of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association shared images with ABC7, taken from the same location of the fire, earlier this year and they show a fire next to an unhoused individual.

"There was a car lit on fire close by, there was a tent across the street in the median that was set on fire, and cyclist passing by pulled that person out," Laska said. "We've had encampment fires down the road and those are just the ones this year."

Laska voiced her concerns to Supervisor Dean Preston in a formal letter back in May.

In response, Preston released a statement saying:

"Our office has never suggested that nothing can be done about fires or threats to public safety because of the Court's injunction regarding sweeps," Preston said in response to Laska in an emailed statement. "The court's order prohibits enforcement of laws against street camping given the city's lack of available housing/shelter, but does not limit enforcement of laws regarding accessibility of the public right of way, threats to public health and safety, and/or acts of vandalism."

There are still road closures around Oak and Octavia because of this safety hazard.

San Francisco Fire officials tell ABC7 it's now the responsibility of the owner, to get this cleaned up.

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