Sunday's massive fire at 16th and Shotwell destroyed a longstanding neighborhood business and displaced over twenty nearby residents — and sending toxic smoke all over the city in the process. The three-alarm fire brought over 100 firefighters to the Mission District tire shop, smoke from which could be seen for miles. Smoke damage from the fire rendered a nearby apartment building unlivable, but fortunately no one was injured.
KQED News reports that the fire began shortly before 8:00 a.m., and Mission Local says that it took two and a half hours for SFFD to bring the blaze under control. They put the displaced figure at 23, while Bay City News still has it at 21.
“At about 7:40 a.m. we got a report of smoke in the building at 16th and Shotwell,” Assistant Chief Dave Franklin told Mission Local. “There was heavy fire and smoke and [firefighters] opened up the building and attacked the fire from the exterior and from above.”
Rolling Stock Tires was the business that went up in flames, and the company employed 20 people, according to ABC 7, all of whom are now currently out of a job.
Mission Local reached the building owner, Jim Albera, who yesterday had planned to celebrate his 60th birthday.
“At least nobody got hurt, but that’s a hell of a birthday present," said Albera. "Another historic building bites the dust in San Francisco."
While firefighters have not officially determined the fire's cause, Albera told ABC 7 that he believes he knows the cause: something flammable mixed in with garbage tossed on the building's roof.
"Yeah, garbage," explained Albera. "All kinds. We took off 5 or 6 sacks just last week to keep the drains clean, you know when it rains."
John Laxson of the Red Cross told Mission Local that his focus is now on providing support for the displaced.
“We’re trying to make sure that they’re warm and comfortable and have good and a place to be together as a family,” said Laxson.
As to where the families would stay, Laxson was unclear.
“[The] city is getting more expensive by the week.”