SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco firefighters prevented a five-alarm fire from spreading from a condominium construction site to nearby buildings on Tuesday.
The fast-moving blaze, which sent an enormous plume of black smoke into the sky, began around 5 p.m. in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood, a onetime industrial area that lies along the San Francisco Bay and is home to a University of California, San Francisco campus.
Nearby buildings were evacuated as more than 150 firefighters battled the flames, using about 90 firetrucks, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Residents of Strata at Mission Bay, a building across the street, told the paper that heat from the fire blew out some front windows.
Fire Capt. Matthew McNaughton said that the roof of a UCSF research building, a block away from the construction site, briefly caught fire.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told the Chronicle that that the fire was the city’s largest in several years.
The burning building was part of a residential development project with 172 units, according to BRE Properties, the building’s owner. Fire-suppression systems had not yet been installed in the building, making the battle more difficult, fire officials said.
One of the six-story structure’s walls collapsed about an hour after the fire began, and the rest of the building was not expected to remain standing, officials said.
The cause of the blaze wasn’t immediately clear. Hayes-White said most of the construction workers finished work for the day around 4 p.m. But McNaughton said several workers were still at the site when firefighters arrived.
The fire was expected to burn into the night, and firefighters will likely be working in the area until daybreak, officials said.
“Thanks to the leadership and determined action of our Fire Department, the very real potential of severe damage to other homes, businesses, and structures in the neighborhood was avoided,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement Tuesday night.
One firefighter suffered second-degree burns to the face, authorities said.
The site is several blocks from AT&T Park, the stadium where the San Francisco Giants play.