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3 Hospitalized in San Francisco Fire That Ripped Through Building

Written by George KellyPublished Nov. 14, 2023 • 6:42am
A fire truck's ladder extends several stories to the top of a building on a street.
San Francisco Fire Department firefighters responded Monday to a two-alarm fire at 21st and Valencia streets in the city’s Mission District. | Source: Courtesy San Francisco Fire Department

Firefighters contained a two-alarm fire that sent flames surging through all three floors of a building Tuesday in San Francisco's Mission District.

A San Francisco Fire Department social media post Tuesday describes a response to an apartment fire in the city's Mission District.

According to social media posts, San Francisco Fire Department firefighters responded to the fire at 21st and Valencia streets around 6 a.m. The city's Department of Emergency Management said traffic delays were likely nearby as a result of an emergency response.

A San Francisco Department of Emergency Management social media post Tuesday urges residents to avoid the scene of a two-alarm fire in the city's Mission District.

In a follow-up social media post, the department said the fire was contained by 7 a.m., with five people rescued by firefighters and three taken to hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

"@RedCrossNorCal being called to assist with potentially 8 displaced. This fire was active on all three floors with people rescued from the inside as well as off fire escapes," the post read in part, adding that Red Cross Bay Area staff were on the scene to assist the displaced.

A police sport-utility vehicle blocks traffic at an intersection while a fire engine and hook and ladder truck work to contain a fire.
San Francisco Fire Department firefighters contained a two-alarm fire in a three-story Valencia Street building, while San Francisco police blocked traffic Tuesday. | Source: Matthew Crane/The Standard

San Francisco Fire Capt. Jonathan Baxter told The Standard that the fire began just before 6 a.m., with 70 firefighters arriving at 975 Valencia St., a three-story multi-residential building over commercial space. No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

Baxter gave special credit to police officers, who not only blocked off traffic but also counseled some displaced residents at the scene.

"This is an extremely scary event for anybody to go through," he said. "When a friendly person is sitting with you and tells you that although it's scary, it's going to be OK, that is always very helpful for anybody."

The fire's cause is undetermined, but investigators will assess all three floors for possible origin points, Baxter said.

A San Francisco Fire Department social-media post shares video of firefighters' response to a two-alarm fire Tuesday at a Mission District apartment building.

In a separate social-media post, the fire department said firefighters adapted to "challenges due to bike-lane barriers in the roadway" during their response.

Transit advocates have in the past criticized pedestrian and bicycle safety on Valencia Street, a major north-south route through the Mission that’s been known to have higher rates of serious or fatal collisions. A pedestrian was fatally struck on Valencia in September.

George Kelly can be reached at

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