VIDEO: They're not just burning paper. Bitter, acrid smoke coming from #Russia Consulate in SF. And hey, it's a #SpareTheAir Day. 97° here! pic.twitter.com/YNVRswKzc2— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) September 1, 2017
It's a Spare the Air Day as the Bay Area is dealing with an "oppressive" heatwave, but over at the Russian Consulate they're throwing god knows what into the fireplace ahead of a forced closure, effective tomorrow. We learned Thursday that, in a tit-for-tat retaliation for having to close American facilities in Russia, the State Department was ordering that Russia close all four of its consulates in the US, including its oldest and most established in San Francisco. They have to be out by Saturday, September 2, and KCBS reporter Doug Sovern was outside the building (which is at 2790 Green Street in Pacific Heights) and he shot the video above reporting that "bitter, acrid smoke" was pouring out of the consulate's chimney and they're "not just burning paper."
He also says that someone came out of the consulate and said they were burning "unidentified items," or something to that effect.
Black smoke billows from roof of #Russian consulate a day before occupants are to vacate. #sffd responds to reports of fire. pic.twitter.com/FEllrdS0xW— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) September 1, 2017
ABC News reports that San Francisco firefighters were called to the building because of the smoke, but they were turned away by consulate officials. The smoke was first reported around 11:40 a.m., as the LA Times reports.
The Russians have been informed that federal agents plan to search the building Saturday as soon as it's vacated, "under orders from the Trump Administration."
Late last year, after revelations about Russia's meddling in the election were coming to light, President Obama ordered about a dozen intelligence operatives stationed at the SF consulate out of the country. The consulate balked at the time, claiming that among those ordered to leave, just ahead of their annual New Year's Eve celebration, was the consulate chef.
Smoke from SF Russian Consulate right now. pic.twitter.com/lju5kEzmh8— beckydraper (@beckydraper) September 1, 2017
Previously: A Dozen Russian Diplomats In SF Are Part Of Obama's Ouster; Reporters Shooed Away At Local Consulate