Massive Pier 45 fire still under investigation, recovery underway, SFFD officials say

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Massive Pier 45 fire still under investigation, officials say
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Officials with the San Francisco Fire Department and the Port of San Francisco gave details on the investigation and cleaning operations to determine the cause of the massive Pier 45 fire.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The massive fire on Pier 45 on Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday is still under investigation and firefighters are continuing to monitor the area for hot spots and flare ups, officials say.

On Tuesday, officials with the San Francisco Fire Department and the Port of San Francisco provided an update on the 4-alarm fire, giving more detail as to what was inside the warehouse that burned down.

The fire caused extensive damage inside the pier's warehouse, destroying World War II-era artifacts and storage facilities of fishing gear.

RELATED: World War II artifacts lost, $75K worth of crab pots destroyed after San Francisco Pier 45 fire

SFFD Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter said there is no timeline or deadline for the investigation because it is a "tedious and scientific process " to delayer materials in order to figure out the origin of the fire.

The SFFD says the fire was burning above and below the historic pier, made of concrete and wood, built in 1926. The pier is split up into different sheds. Shed A, B, and D were spared in the fire. Shed C was most impacted and is still considered an active fire scene. The shed included office spaces for the Red and White fleet and storage areas for the SS Jeremiah O'Brien ship and a fishing storage area for 30 tenants.

The historic SS Jeremiah O'Brien ship was spared in the fire and will be towed to Pier 35 Tuesday afternoon.

Dozens of crab fishermen 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.

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

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

"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.

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.

RELATED: 'This is critical': San_blank Francisco seafood distributor loses over $15K, tour boat company's office destroyed after 4-alarm fire engulfs Pier 45

"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.

Officials say that through preliminary search, there is no indication that anyone was in the warehouse during the fire.

Watch the full briefing on the Pier 45 fire below:

PHOTOS: 4-alarm fire at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf

You can see the smoke bellowing at Pier 45 from a distance on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Credit: @dwhly/Twitter (Dan Whaley)