Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fire at 24th and Bartlett in the San Francisco Mission District

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This is not what you want to see outside at 4:30 am when awakened by wailing sirens.

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San Francisco's characteristic wood back porches and stairs can go up like a torch.

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Fire trucks filled the intersection.

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Firefighters massed to go in.

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Some climbed over the top.

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Neighbors huddled on the street could just make out the firefighters' lights as they searched the building and broke out windows to release the smoke.

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Not all residents came out under their own power.

I do not know yet how many were injured, burned and made homeless tonight in my corner of the world. I am sobered and sombre this morning.

UPDATE: The Chronicle reports 4 people were seriously injured in the fire. They say the building housed 20 people.


Rain Trueax said...

Fire is indeed terrifying and your photos tell the story.

Ronni Bennett said...

Terrifying. You've reminded me of the time in New York, I walked out of my apartment on my way to work barely at dawn and saw smoke billowing out a window on the fifth floor of a building two doors down.

No one else was out and about but me. Cell phones were newish then and I forgot I had mine in my handbag so I ran the half block to the fire station.

While the firefighters were suiting up, one of them ran back to the apartment house with me and left me to ring doorbells to warn people while he crashed through the front door to get inside and waken them.

Unlike San Francisco's wooden back porches, New York's fire escapes are all made of steel, but the buildings on my block were all a couple of hundred years old. So I had similar fears to yours.

The trucks, housed so nearby, arrived almost immediately and in my case there were no injuries. But what if I hadn't needed to be at work so early that day?

janinsanfran said...

Hi Ronni -- your story as well as seeing this fire reminded me very much of how interconnected we are in a city. They say younger Americans are coming to appreciate urban densities after two generations in the suburbs. A fire that threatens multiple buildings, seems a very urban phenomenon.

Of course all the parched rural areas are likely to see more wild fires over large areas as the climate warms. Scary.

Sarah Lawton said...

I logged on here partly to see your take on the fire. We've had a spate of them recently--up on Haight near my kids' other home (which displaced their favorite ice cream shop--and also several families). Then, the big fire around the corner from my office in Berkeley, which displaced several dozen folks and two successful business + longtime employees. No loss of life though. Reminder why we do pay those firefighters.