A two-alarm fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage to a vacant building near the San Francisco Zoo on Saturday, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The blaze was reported around 1 p.m. at the Fleishhacker Pool building located along the Great Highway near the zoo’s parking lot.

Firefighters responded and initially entered the building, but quickly decided to attack the fire from the outside for safety reasons. The blaze was eventually controlled at 5:42 p.m.

It caused extensive damage to the building, including the collapse of its roof, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said today.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Assistant Fire Chief Tom Siragusa said Saturday that the blaze was considered suspicious, but Talmadge said today that the collapsed roof has prevented investigators from determining how the fire started. She said crews expect to get into the building by the end of the day.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, but has since returned to duty, Talmadge said.

The building, once part of a massive swimming pool complex, has been empty for decades. There are no current plans by the city to use the site, Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Connie Chan said.

The San Francisco Zoo shut down at 2 p.m. Saturday, largely because of logistical and parking problems caused by the fire, which did not injure any zoo employees or animals. The zoo reopened on Sunday.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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