San Francisco police said it did not appear that a four-alarm fire that ripped through the Mission District on Wednesday night, killing one person and injuring six others, was deliberately set.
The fire in a mixed-use building at 22nd and Mission streets began about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday and sent residents fleeing. Police evacuated a neighboring building as a precaution.
Firefighters worked through the night to put down the stubborn blaze. It wasn’t extinguished until after midnight and part of the building’s roof had collapsed. One man pulled from the building died at the scene as a result of his injuries.
Police said the fire appeared to be accidental.
“It does not appear foul play [or] arson was a factor,” said Officer Grace Gatpandan, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department.
Six people were taken to hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation, she said.
An official at St. Francis Memorial Hospital confirmed that two men and one woman were being treated there for fire-related issues.
The Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for victims of the fire at City College of San Francisco, said Department of Emergency Management spokesman Francis Zamora.
Zamora said about 40 people had been displaced, and about 25 of them were at the shelter.
Lydia Chavez, editor of the Mission Local news outlet, whose offices are on the second floor of the building, said one of her staff members had locked up the office just 10 minutes before the fire broke out.
After seeing photos of flames engulfing the building, she feared the nonprofit's office and equipment would be a “total loss.”
“I doubt anything is salvageable,” Chavez said Wednesday night.
Still, she said, “we may have lost an office and our equipment, but some people lost their homes.”