Mission & 22nd Shut Down As Fire Burns

The intersection of Mission and 22nd is entirely shut down as a four-alarm fire continues to burn on the northwest corner of the street. The building that looks to be hardest hit by the fire contains both the Popeye’s and the offices of Mission Local—in addition to numerous residential units.

The street closure has forced the rerouting of both the 14 and the 49 down South Van Ness for the time being.

The fire appears to be spreading west up 22nd Street, as these two photos taken moments apart (looking east from 22nd and Bartlett) seem to show:

Update Jan. 29th, 10:30am: Last night’s fire damage was extensive, both to persons and to property. San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White confirmed this morning that one adult male perished in the fire from a cardiac arrest, and Mission Local is reporting that “at least six additional people were being treated at an area hospital for smoke inhalation and burn wounds.” This is in addition to the roughly 54 residents that have reportedly been displaced. 

Chief Hayes-White said that it would be “days or weeks” until the origin of the fire is discovered, and that there are “concerns about [there] not [being] an audible fire alarm system and reports of people having difficulty accessing the fire escape.”

She went on to say that Mission Street will remain closed to traffic until at least midday, when they hope to open at least one lane for Muni.

The damage from last night’s fire extends past Mission Street, up 22nd. And while it is clear that the businesses directly affected by the fire itself will remain closed for some time, it is less clear what will happen to the businesses up 22nd, like Escape From New York and Revolution Cafe. When asked about when those businesses might be able to reopen, one SFPD officer informed Uptown Almanac that as there is extensive flooding and damage to electrical on buildings adjacent to the fire, SFFD would need to OK any business before it is allowed to reopen.

As of now, the future is uncertain for both the residents and businesses displaced.


Burned-Out Mission Street Shops to Be Torn Down

If you’ve been by the site of yesterday’s five-alarm fire at 22nd and Mission, this news likely comes at no surprise: the building is slated for an emergency demolition, possibly taking place later today. Via ABC 7:

San Francisco firefighters continue to monitor flare-ups in the rubble. Because this space was used for storage, they expect more flare-ups once they are allowed to move through the debris inside. Engineers say it still is not safe to enter. San Francisco fire officials describe the building as, “dangerous and heavily compromised in both structure and integrity.”

“I would say 95 percent of the roof either burned off or fell through into the building. We also have what appears to be a second floor or mezzanine collapse down to the first floor. And we have a problem with two barring walls on the exterior, also the front wall is cracked and we’re worried about that possibly falling off into mission street,” explained Assistant Chief David Franklin.

While the size of the pile of debris pulled out of the building isn’t completely visible from the first picture, it is sizable. And burned remains of cheap, imported goods is visibly stacked to the ceiling:

Exhausted-looking firemen were still battling the blaze late into the night, with two hoses spraying down the building as of 11pm last night—some ten hours after the fire broke out.

According to ABC 7, the building had been previously cited for its poor conditions:

The fire chief said the business where the fire started has been cited twice in 2009 and 2013 for overcrowded conditions and narrow exit routes, but could not say at this point if clutter contributed to the fire.

That fact is fueling the rumors that this was an act of arson, although it is both premature and impossible to know what happened.  It was previously reported that an arson team would investigate the building, but because of the imminent risk of collapse, they couldn’t enter the structure. Now, it seems, a complete investigation is unlikely, as the remains will be little more than rubble by the end of the weekend.


Large Fire Is Ripping Through Mission Street Dollar Stores

The plastic-smelling smoke currently whafting through Southern Mission is coming from a fire in two Mission Street dollar stores between 22nd and 23rd. Details are sketchy, but buildings across the street, including the US Bank Building, have been emptied out due to the smoke. We’ll update if we learn more.

Update: It is now a three-alarm fire:

Update 2:05pm: The fire seems to be spreading, as far sound as the Payless and Verizon stores, and making its way torwards the Sketcher’s store at the corner. Smoke is still billowing from the burning buildings:

The smoke has reportedly “blanketed” Potrero Hill, and has filled most of Inner Mission.

According to Mission Local, this is one of the worst fires seen in the Mission in recent years. We agree with that assessment.

Update 2:20pm: Fifth alarm:

[Second and third photos via tipsters]