Skip to main content

Questions remain over cause of San Francisco’s Double Play Bar & Grill fire

Firefighters work outside the Double Play Bar & Grill, which burned the morning of Sept. 24, 2022. | Meaghan Mitchell/The Standard

Questions remain over the September fire that laid waste to San Francisco's historic Double Play Bar & Grill.

Investigation results were released Tuesday and list the cause as “undetermined.”

More than 40 firefighters battled the 6 a.m. blaze that dealt $25,000 in property damage and destroyed $100,000 in valuables—including sought-after baseball memorabilia and San Francisco arcana.

The San Francisco Fire Department responded to the Sept. 24 fire two minutes after the call at 5:36 a.m. No one was hurt or displaced.

The SFFD Bureau of Fire Investigation could not identify what started the fire, according to the incident report. The investigation is now concluded.

SFFD spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Baxter said an investigation being listed as undetermined is not uncommon. Often the area where the fire began is so badly damaged, no evidence can be retrieved.

“A loss of this type impacts the property owners and patrons,” Baxter added. “We hope this business recovers.”

The 113-year-old bar located at 16th and Bryant streets in the Mission, across from where the old Seals Stadium once stood, was a shrine to San Francisco baseball culture. It was a watering hole for government workers from the nearby post office and firehouse—especially on game days.

A GoFundMe set up to help the business recover by the daughter of its owner, Rafael Hernandez Sr., raised $19,000 of its $100,000 goal. Hernandez did not respond to interview requests.

Hernandez started working at the Double Play as a dishwasher in 1988. By 2009, he owned the business.

A building permit for the location was issued on Oct. 13, Department of Building Inspection records show. The Planning Department required the historic cast-iron awning be removed and replaced.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) said the bar submitted an application to the disaster relief fund, a program that provides up to $10,000 to businesses impacted by disasters.

“We’re also here to support impacted businesses with a range of services such as applying for other financial support, permitting and real estate assistance,” OEWD spokesperson Gloria Chan said.

One fan of the bar and grill published an opinion piece in SFGATE calling for the San Francisco Giants to fund rebuilding the Double Play.

Alex Mullaney can be reached at