Haight-Ashbury Blaze Guts 9 Buildings, Leaves 90 Homeless

Associated Press

More than 90 people were left homeless by a fire that gutted nine Victorian-style apartment buildings Saturday in the Haight-Ashbury district.

It took nearly 150 firefighters two hours to douse the flames near Pierce and Haight streets, said Lt. Bill Breslin. One firefighter suffered minor injuries. No one else was hurt.

Officials estimated damage at roughly $3 million.

"Those buildings are all wooden and pretty close together. That helped it move fast," Breslin said.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

Scott Cannon, 30, awoke about 5:30 a.m. to see smoke billowing outside his window. He and his wife, Chela, escaped, and watched only briefly as the fire consumed their belongings, including Cannon's diaries.

"I had to leave. I couldn't watch it anymore," Cannon said when he returned to the scene.

"All my writings were in there. I could imagine each word burning. The drama of it was too overwhelming," said Cannon, who works as a theatrical lighting and set designer.

Hours later, a much smaller fire broke out at an apartment building five blocks away. Officials reported no injuries and said there was no apparent link between the fires.

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