Saturday night’s fire just off 16th Street in the Mission ended up displacing 43 20 people (The fire department initially tallied 43 people who were displaced, but an American Red Cross spokeswoman said this morning that number appears to be closer to 20), injuring at least three of the 110 (not a typo) firefighters who responded to the blaze and two civilians, and damaging four additional buildings. And now, according to ABC7, some are saying it was arson, possibly a dispute over an eviction.

The fire began around 6 Saturday night, in a three-story house at 66 Rondel Place, an alley off of 16th Street between Mission and Valencia streets. Though SFFD had the three-alarm-fire controlled by 6:50 7:45 (from a later statement from SFPD), several surrounding buildings were also damaged, those at 64 and 72 Rondel Place and 571 and 577 Valencia St. According to Bay City News, three firefighters and two civilians suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospitals.

The fire caused about $900,000 in damage to the building where it originated and $212,000 in damage to its contents, SFFD spokesperson Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

A building at 72 Rondel Place sustained $170,000 in content and structural damage, and $90,000 in damage was tallied at 64 Rondel Place.

The blaze also caused $120,000 in structural damage and destroyed an estimated $120,000 in contents at a building that houses 571 and 577 Valencia St., Talmadge said.

The Red Cross is assisting two families who need help finding shelter, spokeswoman Patricia Peper said.

One witness, tenant Chad Archer, says the fire was deliberately set, perhaps by a tenant who was evicted the day previous. “I saw a bed on fire and I called the fire department,” Archer said, adding that he saw that “all the burners on a gas stove (in the building) were turned on…I believe someone set the fire on purpose.”

Investigators from the SFFD appear to agree, describing the fire as “suspicious.”Talmadge confirms this, saying that the cause of the fire has not yet been determined but
investigators consider the blaze suspicious.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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