Several San Francisco residents are receiving support from the American Red Cross after a nearby fire spread to their apartment building, displacing them from their homes.
According to local news affiliate ABC 7, the massive fire started yesterday in a tire shop located on 16th and Shotwell streets in the famed Mission District of San Francisco. It was first reported at 7:45 a.m., and firefighters rushed into adjacent apartment buildings soon after to evacuate residents.
The tire shop is located directly adjacent to the affected apartment building. Foxy Linzimer, who lives in an apartment building further down the road, saw the blaze after she was evacuated from her home.
“You could see through the courtyard the flames, just a wall of flames,” Linzmier said.
The damaged apartment building adjacent to the tire shop has been red-tagged, which means that fire officials have deemed it unsafe to inhabit for the time being. The Red Cross is offering aid to the 12 families who were displaced from their apartments as a result of the fire, and local food banks have teamed up with the Salvation Army to provide additional relief.
The threat of structure fires is an unfortunate reality for those living in high-rise buildings. For those who do escape with their life, they’re often forced to find a different source of housing while the situation is remedied.
Owners of these high-rise buildings are forced to deal with the serious financial consequences of structure fires. Every year, hotel and motel fires result in $76 million in property loss. Even more shocking, apartment structure fires cause a staggering $1.7 billion dollars in property damage on a yearly basis, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
San Francisco city law dictates that the displaced residents have the right to return to their apartment at the same rent price, though the time it takes to repair damages of this severity often forces these people to move altogether.
City Supervisor David Campos has considered amending repair requirements in these circumstances to speed up the process and return families to their homes as quickly as possible.
“Is there something that we can do to expedite that process because there are protections that are in place, but unless the property is repaired within a period of time, those protections become meaningless to the people who have been displaced,” Campos said.
In total, nearly two dozen people were displaced as a result of the fire. The Red Cross and Salvation Army will continue to provide aid to those affected until they are allowed back into their homes.