NBC Bay Area's Chief Investigative Reporter Tony Kovaleski examines BRE Properties, the owner of the apartment complex lost in Tuesday's Mission Bay fire.
The owner and builder of the construction project that erupted in flames the Mission Bay apartment complex fire are two of the biggest companies in the construction and commercial real estate industries. San Francisco-based BRE Properties and Suffolk Construction both run billion dollar corporations.
BRE is a publicly traded company, and also owns and operates 17 finished apartment complexes in the Bay Area.
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit checked building inspections and found no existing complaints filed with the city of San Francisco. Suffolk Construction, which BRE hired as the builder, is the 41st largest builder in the country.
We checked OSHA records on the company and found nothing unusual to report. Public records show the building had pipes in place for fire sprinklers, but at this early stage of construction, the sprinklers would not be required or active. Suffolk Construction did receive a regional safety award in 2012 for its work in the Southeastern part of the U.S.
The big unanswered question remains the cause of the fire.
Sources tell the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that investigators will look to see if there were any active sources of ignition on the property, including any welding projects.
Finding the exact cause could be difficult. You may remember the Santana Row fire in 2002. Fire investigators never found the cause of that fire.
Building owner BRE did release a public statement saying it is assessing the situation, including the fire's cause. The company says it carries comprehensive insurance that should pay for all losses connected to the fire. Suffolk Construction has not released a statement or responded to our email.
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