Fire shuts down Taraval Street
A fire on Taraval Street near 30th Avenue sent smoke billowing out of a the ground floor of a mixed-use building Wednesday afternoon. No one was hurt, but firefighters blocked both directions of Taraval, backing up trains for blocks on the busy L-Taraval Muni line.
“No one was home,” said Assistant Chief Tom Siragusa, who said 35 San Francisco Fire Department personnel responded to the fire.
Siragusa said Fire Department investigators would be examining the scene to determine the cause of the fire, which broke out shortly after 3 p.m.
A few doors west of the fire, teacher Alisa Belew stood outside the Ann Healy Dance Studio with some of her Irish-dancing students, watching firefighters as they pulled smoking furniture and other debris out of the ground floor of the house, which has a retail commercial unit on the ground floor.
Belew said she heard sirens but didn’t think much about them at first. “I didn’t even come out until they were up on the roof,” she said.
Angel Li, who works at SW Coffee Station on the same block, said a friend called her at work to tell her there was a fire nearby.
“My friend called and went out to see the smoke. I guess [firefighters] broke in, and black smoke came out,” said Li.
Both Li and Belew said they didn’t know who lives in the house or what the ground floor was used for. City data shows the building is zoned for ground-floor retail commercial use.
According the the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, almost exactly one year ago the building was the subject of a complaint that someone was living in the commercial space in the building. On March 18, 2011, DBI received a complaint about the retail commercial space at 2016 Taraval St., and on March 24 of that year the department issued a notice of violation.
The complaint is still listed as active, and on Feb. 23 of this year DBI issued a permit for work to remove a kitchen and partition wall, and return the area to retail use.
City records show that a permit to install an office in the ground floor was issued in 1995 and work was completed in 1996.
SFFD Battalion Chief Jack Cremen said the fire was rated at one alarm.
Police and Fire Department vehicles blocked both directions of Taraval Street, and several L-Taraval streetcars piled up on either side of the fire scene. Service on the L line was restored by about 5 p.m.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters did find two tan-and-white hamsters on the ground floor of the house and rescued them from the fire.