SF Fire Crews Battle Fire in Haight

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011  |  Updated 9:27 AM PDT
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Fire investigators are working the scene of blaze that erupted on the top floor and roof of a Victorian-style building at Fillmore and Haight streets in the city's Lower Haight neighborhood.  NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle reports.

Fire investigators are working the scene of blaze that erupted on the top floor and roof of a Victorian-style building at Fillmore and Haight streets in the city's Lower Haight neighborhood. NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle reports.

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Firefighters responded to a four-alarm fire in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

The first floor of the building is occupied by a Walgreen store while the top two floors contain 25 residential units. No injuries were reported.

The blaze started on the third floor and quickly spread across the top of the building, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

The fire did not spread to the second floor, however it did sustain water damage, she said. The corner of the building appeared to sustain the most damage and windows were broken on a number of units on the top floor.

Flames could be seen on two sides of the roof. Thick black smoke was pouring out of the corner of the building and gray smoke was wafting up from the other side.

The fire was reported just after 4 p.m. near Haight and Fillmore streets, according to a fire dispatcher.

Bay City News talked to Pierre Pegeron who works at a meat market across the street. He said he saw flames coming out of a window on the top floor and with the help of another man named Gustavo Manzanares got inside the building to help get people out. The two also pulled the fire alarm and grabbed an extinguisher.

The two rescuers said they realized they would need rescue unless they got out of the building themselves. Both got out safely. Manzanares said windows were shattering outside and there was a power pole in danger of falling.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi noted that many people were at work or on their way home when the fire broke out.

"Many do not know what has just happened to their housing," he said.

After the third alarm was called, fire crews appeared to get the upper hand. The flames, that appeared to be raging out of control at 4:40 p.m. were all but out by 4:55 p.m.

Flames and smoke were no longer visible as of 5:45 p.m., but firefighters were still on the scene putting out hot spots, Talmadge said.

American Red Cross personnel are on the scene to assist displaced residents although it was not immediately known how many residents are affected.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire is not yet known, however investigators are responding to reports that early responders heard popping sounds. It was too soon to tell if the cause of the fire is considered suspicious, Talmadge said.

Emergency crews have closed the streets to traffic for a block in each direction. Several San Francisco Municipal Railway bus lines have been affected by the blaze. The 6, 22, and 71 lines have been rerouted as emergency crews continue to battle the fire, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

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