Volunteers Teaching Fire Safety to Canvass the Mission Following Deadly Fire

In response to a deadly fire in San Francisco’s Mission District that left seven people injured and roughly 40 people homeless last month, the American Red Cross’ Bay Area chapter will canvass the neighborhood Saturday teaching residents fire safety and encouraging installation of smoke alarms to prevent future tragedies.

On Jan. 28, a four-alarm fire killed one man and all but destroyed a Mission District building housing dozens of apartments and businesses at the corner of 22nd and Mission streets.

One person, 40-year-old Mauricio Orellana, was killed in the fire.

Following the fire, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission neighborhood, said Orellana was a kind, friendly and selfless person who moved from El Salvador to San Francisco about 12 years ago.

As a result of the fire, six people were also transported to a hospital, including a firefighter who suffered dehydration and five civilians who suffered minor to moderate injuries. A seventh person suffered minor injuries but declined to be taken to the hospital, fire officials said.

At least 40 residents of the building stayed at an American Red Cross shelter on the City College of San Francisco campus at 22nd and Bartlett streets following the fire.

Two more major fires were reported in the days following the Mission District fire, resulting in roughly 100 displaced persons in San Francisco as a result of the three fires.

The American Red Cross Bay Area chapter will be canvassing San Francisco’s Mission District as part of its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, in order to teach people how to be prepared for home fires and to install smoke alarms where needed.

The American Red Cross will hold a volunteer briefing on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and then at 10 a.m., teams of American Red Cross volunteers will canvass the neighborhood east of Mission Street between 20th Street to 24th Street.

The San Francisco Fire Department as well as Mission Economic Development Association, Mission Promise Neighborhood and Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation are among other groups expected to volunteer in the event.

Mark Cloutier, regional chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Northern California coastal region said, “Installing smoke alarms cuts the risk of someone dying from a home fire in half.”

The American Red Cross’ efforts in the Mission District on Saturday are part of the organization’s nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to residential fires by 25 percent over the next five years.

The organization will be canvassing neighborhoods across the United States deemed to be at high risk for fires.

All residents are urged to check their existing smoke alarms, install news ones if necessary, and practice fire drills at home.

The American Red Cross responded to nearly 400 home fires in the Bay Area last year.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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