SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Several San Francisco residents remained displaced Sunday as fire authorities continued investigating the cause of a massive building blaze that broke out in a historic neighborhood during the thick of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
San Francisco Fire Lt. Jonathan Baxter said eight people from an adjacent building could not yet return.
Meanwhile, one firefighter was injured during cleanup Sunday morning after he fell off a truck, Baxter said. The firefighter was expected to be OK.
Baxter said there were no other injuries.
The three-story building in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood started burning before 8 p.m. Saturday and escalated quickly. The department said the fire was under control by 1 a.m.
But Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the neighborhood, told KNTV-TV that the fire department’s response was painfully slow. He is calling for an investigation.
Baxter disagreed with the criticism, saying firefighters were on the scene within two minutes of notice and dousing flames within six minutes.
People did not live in the burnt building although there were several businesses on the ground floor, including Coit Liquors and Rogue Ales San Francisco Public House.
Juan Alatorre of Oakland and his girlfriend, Greta Gonzalez, were in Rogue Ales when a bartender suddenly jumped on a table and yelled for everyone to get out.
“The flames were coming up 20 feet (6 meters) in the air when we left,” Alatorre told the San Francisco Chronicle . “It was like the fire just erupted.”
Baxter said all businesses suffered “extensive damage.”