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These 5 San Francisco freeway overpasses failed fire safety inspections

Firefighters walk through thick smoke, with hoses, near a "Public Parking" sign, under an overpass.
Firefighters attempt to put out a homeless encampment fire in a Caltrans parking lot on Division Street. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

After a massive fire in Los Angeles that led to the weeklong closure of Interstate 10, the state fire marshal launched statewide inspections of freeway overpasses and found several locations underneath San Francisco freeways were a fire risk.

Inspection records released by the California Department of Transportation this week found that four businesses and one city agency across San Francisco failed to properly dispose of combustible materials or adequately install electrical equipment and other hazards.

The report found improper use of electrical cords and generators at a property operated by the Department of Public Works and used by the Bureau of Urban Forestry at 1920 Evans Ave. under Interstate 280.

Beth Rubenstein, a Public Works spokesperson, said the department has since fixed most of the issues flagged by the state inspection, except for the electrical cords—which it's fixing now.

The report also lists properties leased by parking firm Parkayo at 22nd and Iowa streets under I-280; B&A Towing at Dore Street under the Central Freeway; Excelsior Auto Care shop at Alemany Boulevard under I-280; and the Metro Trans bus yard at 16th Street under Highway 101.

A representative for Excelsior Auto Care said it has addressed the issues and is waiting for the state to conduct a follow-up inspection.

B&A Towing, Metro Trans and Parkayo didn't respond to a request for comment by publication time.

Gov. Gavin Newsom blamed the Los Angeles freeway fire on arson. The disruption caused by closing the freeway for repairs sparked outrage, as thousands of commuters faced delays in a city already known for its traffic woes.

The overpass was reportedly home to a large homeless encampment and was also used as a storage space for wooden pallets, piles of tires and old vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

David Sjostedt can be reached at