The American Red Cross will decide today how to continue sheltering people displaced by Wednesday morning’s four-alarm fire that destroyed an apartment building in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood, a spokesman said.
Nineteen of the roughly 75 people displaced from three affected buildings on Hyde Street between Bush and Sutter streets were still using the shelter established at the Gene Friend Recreation Center as of this morning, Red Cross spokesman Steve Sharp said.
Because the Red Cross had only arranged to have a shelter in that building, located on the corner of Sixth and Folsom streets, for about three days, alternative options will be determined today, Sharp said.
If the number of people in need is low enough, they will be placed in a hotel, he said.
“Each case is studied case by case, each family has different needs,” Sharp said. “We try to accommodate them as best we can.”
The people who remain displaced had lived in apartments at 824 Hyde St. and adjacent 830 Hyde St., Sharp said.
The building at 824 Hyde St. was destroyed in the fire, which was reported shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday and burned until 7:30 a.m.
Most of the displaced people are students, young professionals, or families, Sharp said. Meals, comfort kits, counseling, and translation services are all being provided, he said.
The fire did not displace many children, but Sharp said one 6-year-old boy saw his family’s time in the shelter as more of an adventure than a misfortune, and was delighted by the opportunity of crayons and sprinting cheerily around the gym with a bag of Oreos in his hand.
Though animals are usually not permitted in shelters, the Red Cross did arrange an agreement with San Francisco Animal Care and Control to house one dog displaced by the fire, Sharp said.
The flames also temporarily displaced residents of adjacent 810 Hyde St., but nearly all of the people from that building were allowed to return Wednesday morning, Sharp said.
Only five units in one corner of 810 Hyde St. were so badly damaged that the residents could not immediately return, he said.
830 Hyde St. “is going to be closed for quite some time” due to smoke and water damage, as well as a multitude of damaged windows and doors, Sharp said. The condemned building at 824 Hyde St. is expected to be torn down by the end of today or Saturday, Sharp said.
“It was deemed a hazard to buildings around it, that’s the problem,” Sharp said, referring to the danger of the building’s collapsing in the dense Nob Hill neighborhood.
Immediately after the early morning blaze, a temporary Red Cross shelter was established in the lobby and then a room of St. Francis Memorial Hospital, Sharp said.
He said the staff and managers of the hospital “should be congratulated” for the swift and effective help they provided the Red Cross in serving the displaced residents.
Employees from a St. Francis hospital office building located at 899 Bush Street were also evacuated due to the blaze on Wednesday, but were allowed to return immediately and the building was undamaged, Sharp said.
Three people were treated at St. Francis for smoke inhalation and were released later Wednesday. No additional injuries were reported from the fire.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
Kyveli Diener, Bay City News