SF Fire Response Sparks Criticism; Supervisor Calls For Chief's Resignation - NBC Bay Area
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SF Fire Response Sparks Criticism; Supervisor Calls For Chief's Resignation

No civilians injured, one firefighter hurt after falling from a fire truck, and the building has been red-tagged

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    SF Fire Response Sparks Criticism From City Supervisor

    The four-alarm fire that destroyed a building in the city's North Beach neighborhood over the weekend rekindled a city supervisor's criticism of the fire chief. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Monday, March 19, 2018)

    The four-alarm fire that destroyed a building in the city's North Beach neighborhood over the weekend rekindled a city supervisor's criticism of the fire chief.

    Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who was at the scene when the blaze ignited Saturday, says crews were slow to get water on the fire. On Sunday, as the flames continued to burn, Peskin called for fire Chief Joanne Hayes White to resign.

    "Even her high-ranking staff that got here realized they were not on the job," Peskin said. "There was no excuse for it whatsoever. This has nothing to do with politics; this has to do with abject failure by the fire department."

    On Monday, Hayes White declined a request to comment. But Interim Mayor Mark Farrell repeated his support of the chief.

    "I think it’s wholly irresponsible for an elected official to try to, A, tell them how to do their job and, B, call for the resignation of the fire chief," Farrell said.

    Board of Supervisors President London Breed agreed.

    "As a former fire commissioner, I think they did a hell of a job, and I’m really proud of how they handled things with that fire," Breed said. "So, the worst thing you can do is be critical."

    Despite the chaotic scene on the night of St. Patrick's Day festivities, no civilians were hurt after the four-alarm blaze erupted at 659 Union St., fire officials said. One firefighter still on the scene Sunday morning was injured after falling off a fire truck, but he is expected to recover.

    RAW: SF Firefighters Battle Four-Alarm Fire that Sparked in North Beach Neighborhood.RAW: SF Firefighters Battle Four-Alarm Fire that Sparked in North Beach Neighborhood.

    San Francisco firefighters are battling a three-alarm fire in the North Beach neighborhood Saturday night.

    (Published Saturday, March 17, 2018)

    On Sunday afternoon, the Department of Building Inspection said the fire caused structural damage rendering the building unsafe and uninhabitable, and the building has been red-tagged. 

    The building contains five commercial units on the ground level with vacant residences above. As of Sunday morning, eight people from a nearby building were still displaced as a result of the fire, according to fire officials and the Associated Press.

    Fire crews arrived at the site of the blaze within two minutes and started dousing the flames within six minutes, San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. After implementing a four-alarm response, fire officials declared the blaze under control at 1:11 a.m. on Sunday.

    Supervisor Aaron Peskin Calls for SF Fire Chief’s Resignation Over Fire ResponseSupervisor Aaron Peskin Calls for SF Fire Chief’s Resignation Over Fire Response

    San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who says he was having dinner nearby and was at the scene of the fire within minutes of it starting, said the fire department was painfully slow in responding. Now, he’s calling for San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White to resign. Sergio Quintana reports.

    (Published Saturday, March 17, 2018)

    "It starts at the top," Peskin said. "I called her during this event repeatedly. Her voicemail is full."

    Hayes-White said that firefighters put water on the flames from inside the building first before pulling out and battling the inferno from the outside.

    A half-dozen businesses remained closed Sunday as firefighters investigated the fire.

    RAW: SF Firefighters Battle Four-Alarm Fire Burning in North BeachRAW: SF Firefighters Battle Four-Alarm Fire Burning in North Beach

    San Francisco firefighters are battling a four-alarm fire in the North Beach neighborhood Saturday night.

    (Published Saturday, March 17, 2018)

    Peskin plans to launch an investigation into the fire department's response, but a specific timetable was not immediately known.

    The cause and origin of the North Beach blaze is still under investigation.

    NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Christie Smith contributed to this report.

    Blaze Engulfs Building in SF's North Beach NeighborhoodBlaze Engulfs Building in SF's North Beach Neighborhood

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