Demolition Begins On Mission Bay Apartment Destroyed By Five Alarm Fire

Crews this afternoon have started demolishing the remains of an apartment building that was under construction in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood when it was destroyed in a five-alarm fire Tuesday.

The fire was reported just before 5 p.m. and quickly grew, sending up a dark plume of smoke that could be seen from many parts of the Bay Area. Flames spread and engulfed the building, and there was initial concern that the blaze could spread to other structures.

The flames have since been quelled and water has been poured onto the building overnight and throughout most of the day, according to fire officails.

The blaze has been contained to the building, but nearby buildings, including the Strata at Mission Bay apartments and a building at the University of California at San Francisco Mission Bay campus, were damaged by flying embers, excessive heat and smoke, officials said.

Deputy Chief Mark Gonzales said “this isn’t your typical fire,” and fire crews will remain at the scene this evening watching for flare-ups as the demolition proceeds.

The construction company, Suffolk Construction Co., brought in equipment around 3 p.m. to pull apart the gutted building, parts of which were threatening to collapse, Gonzales said.

Fire crews are assisting and ready to put out any smoldering areas deeper into the building, he said.

The 172-unit building was part of a development project by BRE Properties known as MB360. Company officials released a statement Tuesday saying that the building was known as Block 5.

Another site of the project with 188 units under construction was not affected by the massive blaze.

At least 30 residents apartment buildings on Fourth Street across the street from the fire were evacuated and will not be allowed back into their homes until the demolition is complete, Gonzales said.

Streets around the building remain closed, he said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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