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4:55 PM (Bay City News): A five-alarm fire that burned for hours in three buildings near San Francisco’s Alamo Square today was finally brought under control shortly after 3 p.m., a fire dispatcher said.

The fire was reported at 11:53 a.m. at a three-unit Victorian home at 1502 Golden Gate Ave. and the flames spread rapidly along the rear of the building, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at a news briefing at the scene.

At least two people suffered minor injuries in the fire–a firefighter who suffered neck burns and a civilian who suffered smoke inhalation, Hayes-White said. A dispatcher said the firefighter who suffered the burns was taken to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

About 140 firefighters responded to the blaze.

Hayes-White said the “intensity of the heat and flames” forced firefighters to change tactics when conditions became too dangerous.

She said the wind presented challenges, as did the fact that the building where the blaze started is a wooden structure and is attached to other buildings.

“Everyone’s done a tremendous job,” Hayes-White said of the firefighting efforts.

The cause of the blaze has not been determined, but fire investigators were at the scene looking for clues late this afternoon, a dispatcher said.

The fire was described by Hayes-White as “one of the most intense the city has seen in some time.”

It brought dozens of people out to nearby streets to watch the activity, including supervisor and sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the neighborhood.

“This is gut-wrenching because we’re in the heart of the holiday,” Mirkarimi said.

A nearby elderly care facility also had to be evacuated as a precaution because of the heavy smoke.

The building where the fire started is adjacent to the Creative Arts Charter School. An outgoing message at the school states that the school is on winter break.

The American Red Cross responded to the scene and has since set up an evacuation center to assist residents displaced from the roughly 30 units affected by the fire.

The evacuation center is at the Missionary Temple church at 1455 Golden Gate Ave. Residents who need housing, food or other assistance are advised to go to the evacuation center or call (888) 4-HELP-BAY.

Those wishing to donate to the fire victims can contact the Red Cross at (888) 4-HELP-BAY or visit www.redcrossbayarea.org.

3:04 PM (Bay City News): Firefighters are gaining the upper hand on a dramatic five-alarm fire that has burned for hours in three buildings near San Francisco’s Alamo Square.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said it appears firefighters will have the blaze under control in the “not-so-distant future.”

At least two people suffered minor injuries in the fire–a firefighter who suffered neck burns and a civilian, Hayes-White said. A dispatcher said the firefighter who suffered the burns was taken to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

The blaze was reported at 11:53 a.m. at a three-unit Victorian home 1502 Golden Gate Ave. and the flames spread rapidly along the rear of the building, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at afternoon news briefing.

About 140 firefighters have responded to the blaze, the chief said.

“The fire is one of the most intense the city has seen in some time,” she said.

Firefighters searched the building where the fire started except for the top floor, which was already engulfed in flames, but they were optimistic that everybody made it out, Hayes-White said.

The chief said the “intensity of the heat and flames” forced firefighters to change tactics when conditions became too dangerous.

She said the wind is making it challenging to fight the fire, as is the fact that the building of origin is a wood structure and is attached to other buildings.

“Everyone’s done a tremendous job,” Hayes-White said.

Dozens of people filled nearby streets to watch the fire, including San Francisco Supervisor and sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi, whose district encompasses that neighborhood.

“This is gut-wrenching because we’re in the heart of the holiday,” Mirkarimi said.

Mayor Ed Lee was also at the scene this afternoon.

The building where the fire started is adjacent to the Creative Arts Charter School, a dispatcher said. An outgoing message at the school states that the school is on winter break.

A nearby elderly care facility was evacuated as a precaution because of the heavy smoke.
Pierce Street was shut down between McAllister and Turk streets, while Golden Gate Avenue was shut down between Scott and Steiner streets as of 1 p.m.

The American Red Cross has also responded to the scene to assist displaced residents, spokesman Patricia Peper said. Peper did not immediately have information how many residents were displaced.

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2:11 PM (Bay City News): Three people have suffered minor injuries in a five-alarm fire that is burning in three buildings near San Francisco’s Alamo Square.

The blaze was reported at 11:53 a.m. at 1502 Golden Gate Ave. and rapidly spread along the rear of the building, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at afternoon news briefing.

Firefighters were still trying to gain the upper hand on the fire as of 2 p.m.

“We still have our work cut out for us,” Hayes-White said.

She said two firefighters and a civilian were injured. One firefighter suffered minor neck burns, she said. The second firefighter and the civilian are both being treated for smoke inhalation.

A dispatcher said the firefighter who suffered the burns was taken to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

About 140 firefighters have responded to the blaze, the chief said.

“The fire is one of the most intense the city has seen in some time,” she said.

Firefighters searched the building where the fire started except for the top floor, which was already engulfed in flames, but they were optimistic that everybody made it out, Hayes-White said.

The chief said the “intensity of the heat and flames” forced firefighters to change tactics when conditions became too dangerous.

She said the wind is making it challenging to fight the fire, as is the fact that the building of origin is a wood structure and is attached to other buildings.

“Everyone’s done a tremendous job,” Hayes-White said.

Dozens of people filled nearby streets to watch the fire, including San Francisco Supervisor and sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi, whose district encompasses that neighborhood.

“This is gut-wreching because we’re in the heart of the holiday,” Mirkarimi said.

The three buildings that are burning include one connected to the Creative Arts Charter School, a dispatcher said. An outgoing message at the school states that the school is on winter break.

Pierce Street was shut down between McAllister and Turk streets, while Golden Gate Avenue was shut down between Scott and Steiner streets as of 1 p.m.

The American Red Cross has also responded to the scene to assist displaced residents, spokesman Patricia Peper said.

Peper did not immediately have information how many residents were displaced.

Patricia Decker/Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

12:23 PM: A five-alarm fire is burning at in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood

The blaze was reported at 11:53 a.m. at a building near the intersection of Elm and Pierce streets, a fire dispatcher said.

According to ABC7 broadcast, the fire is located at 1502 Golden Gate, but has spread to at least one, perhaps two neighboring buildings.

Flames are visible on the roof and throughout the upper floors of both buildings, and the blaze is sending thick black and gray smoke into the air that is visible for miles.

According to ABC7, a fourth alarm was called at around 12:20 today, and a fifth alarm was called at around 12:45

At least three ambulances were sent to the scene, a dispatcher said, but no injuries have been reported.

Golden Gate Ave is closed between Scott and Steiner, Pierce is closed from McAllister to Eddy, and Turk Street is also reportedly closed near the fire. Drivers are recommended to avoid the area.

The buildings that are burning are near the Creative Arts Charter School on Turk Street. An outgoing message at the school states that the school is on winter break.

Valerie Davison, who lives on the other side of the street from the fire, told Bay City News that “It’s spreading — the smoke is coming out of the windows, and there’s a lot of windows over there.”

“They’re going to have to get help, the flames are getting bigger,” she said at 12:20 p.m.

More than 100 people have filled nearby streets to watch the fire.

Photos: Christine Borden

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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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  • Christine Borden

    Thanks for the photo credit!

  • Christine Borden

    Thanks for the photo credit!