SAN FRANCISCO -- As winds gusted up to 30 mph Wednesday morning, firefighters continued to douse hot spots at an apartment building under construction that was destroyed in a raging Tuesday evening blaze.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee joined Fire Chief Joanne Hayes White on an early morning tour of the scene near AT&T Park in the city's rapidly developing Mission Bay neighborhood.
He called the fire "horrific" but said city residents were "very lucky" that firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the one multistory structure.
The cause of the fire remained unknown and Hayes White said the building was too dangerous for arson investigators to enter.
However, she said interviews with witnesses revealed there was welding taking place at "the point of origin" on the structure's top floors before workers left for the day at around 3:30 p.m.
"The main objective now is to get the fire under control," Hayes White told KCBS radio. "We feel like we have that pretty much handle,d but we don’t want to take any chances. Once we stop applying the water, we’ll do an analysis. We will have structural engineers come out and they will begin the dismantling piece of the project."
The fire broke out shortly before 5 p.m. at the site, part of a large condominium project known as MB360 under development by BRE Properties Inc.
The company late Tuesday confirmed the blaze had destroyed Block 5 of the development, which contained 172 units under construction.
“Thankfully, the project was safely evacuated and all associates and contractors have been accounted for,” the statement said, noting that insurance coverage is expected to kick in.
Block 11 of the project, which contains 188 units under construction, was not affected.
Meanwhile, officials said a firefighter who arrived on the first ladder truck at the scene Tuesday and suffered burns on his hands and face had been treated overnight at a hospital and released.
Residents were evacuated from a building across the street from the burning structure when heat caused windows to break and triggered sprinklers. Those must be reset before residents can reoccupy their units.
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