SAN FRANCISCO—Firefighters rescued a man from a two-alarm fire that displaced several residents and business owners in Chinatown on Friday, February 3, San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) spokesman Jonathan Baxter said.
The SFFD received reports that a two-story building—located at the corner of Pacific Avenue, near the Stockton Street Tunnel—was on fire at 7:47 a.m. and four firetrucks responded to the scene at 1199 Stockton St.
Firefighters pulled a man from the burning building in serious condition; his injuries were quickly downgraded to non-life-threatening. Another man suffered from minor smoke inhalation, but was not hospitalized. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were on standby to provide aid.
“Keeping this community close to its home is so important for their recovery in this incident,” said John McKnight Director for the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services in a statement on Friday.
The fire was primarily located in the building’s basement, which houses a grocery market called Chong Hing – where the fire started. Firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to neighboring buildings and successfully contained it by 1:45 p.m.
Seven businesses and at least 25 residents were displaced in the fire. The half residential, half commercial building houses several businesses on the first floor and 28 residential units on the second floor. The building which has so many sub-divided units provided plenty of plywood to feed to the flames, SF Fire Division II Assistant Chief Kevin Burke said.
The victims, most of whom are senior citizens, are currently staying at the Salvation Army’s Chinatown Corps, located at 1450 Powell St.
“Following the closure of the shelter, we will continue to support these folks as we know recovery will take time,” said McKnight.
The Betty Ong Recreation Center, located at 1199 Mason Street, was used as a temporary evacuation shelter while firefighters combatted the flames. Mayor Edwin Lee’s office sent Mandarin and Cantonese translators to help the victims communicate, according to reports.
The businesses that were affected are receiving support from the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
“It’s important that San Francisco small businesses know that the city is here to help when they face unforeseen events,” said Mayor Lee in a statement. “Through the Small Business Disaster Fund, the small businesses impacted by the fire in Chinatown will get the resources and assistance they need to recover quickly and resume operations. ”
No evacuations were implemented, but the busy intersection of Stockton and Pacific Streets were roped off Friday. Authorities asked people to avoid the area near the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Stockton Street, as well as advised residents to close their windows to avoid smoke and debris. The cause of the fire is still undetermined and the incident is under investigation, Lt. Baxter noted.
Written By Totianna Weekly and Sabrina Bush