Investigators Can’t Determine Cause Of SF General Fire That Injured Eight

Investigators have not been able to determine what sparked a fire at a San Francisco General Hospital building last week that caused about $200,000 in damage, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The one-alarm blaze was reported at 9:32 a.m. on June 18 in an elevator shaft at a new building under construction at Potrero Avenue and 23rd Street.

About 350 construction workers at the site were evacuated until firefighters extinguished the flames at 10:18 a.m.

While fire investigators have ruled the blaze accidental, they were not able to determine whether it was related to welding work being done in the elevator shaft or if it was sparked by some sort of electrical malfunction, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Seven construction workers were assessed for smoke inhalation, two of whom were treated at the hospital’s emergency room and released later that day, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.

A firefighter also suffered a minor shoulder injury while battling the blaze, Kagan said.

The fire, which was confined to the elevator shaft, did not affect operations at the hospital and is not expected to delay the planned 2015 opening of the new building, an $887.4 million acute care facility that will include private rooms and a larger emergency room, according to Kagan.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is also investigating the fire and will review the project’s safety program, Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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