'Everything is gone': Pier 45 fire puts 2020 crab season in jeopardy, millions in fishing equipment destroyed

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The massive fire on Pier 45 on Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday is still under investigation - But extensive damage inside the warehouse is threatening to disrupt the upcoming dungeness crab season.

Dozens of crab fisherman lost millions of dollars worth of gear in the fire.

"You wake up and realize everything you did your whole life is gone," said fisherman Bob Maharry.

Maharry has been a crab fisherman for 46 years in San Francisco, but now, he's not sure what to do.

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"I lost every piece of equipment I own in the fire," said Maharry.

Maharry's expensive crab traps, mostly handmade were stacked to the ceiling inside the Pier 45 warehouse along with hundreds of others - Now a total loss after Saturday's four alarm fire ripped through.

"It's bad, 30 families lost everything," said Larry Collins.

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A four-alarm fire engulfed a warehouse at Pier 45 on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

Collins is president of San Francisco's Community Fishing Association. He puts losses at $4 to $5 million dollars. It could put the 2020 crab season, which starts in November, in jeopardy.

"It's a terrible tragedy, we're going to need the support from community, the Port and everything," Collins added.

The Port of San Francisco is stepping up to help fishermen with re-location assistance.

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"We understand this is a tragic loss, we're going to put our heads together for solutions," said Port Spokesperson Randy Quezada.

Some seafood companies suffered equipment losses, others were spared with only smoke damage to clean up.

But crab fisherman are in a different boat, many say they had no fire insurance because they say they can't get it. During the off-season many fish for salmon and black cod.

A GoFundMe account hopes to raise $1 million dollars to help the fishing fleet recover.
"I'd say 30 different fishermen lost everything," Collins said.

Right now, fishermen are in the middle of salmon season and crab season is four months away.

"You know crab pots are $250 just for the stuff and five hours of work to put together. So if you had 400 crab traps, you can imagine what these guys lost," Collins said.

Juan Rodriguez sent ABC7 video of the damage up close from Monday morning, where you can still see smoke. He works for Ocomar Seafoods, a company that delivers to restaurants.
Collins says what comes through Pier 45 affects the entire Bay Area.

"The amount of food that comes over that port, that gets distributed locally, gets everybody their fresh salmon, fresh crab, the black cod, albacore. This is a tragedy and everybody has got to step up. And we got to take care of this problem," Collins said.

There is a GoFundMe page which you can donate to here.

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