A man who allegedly damaged a historic city-owned home that he lived in with a senior city official was charged Tuesday with two felony arson counts, one felony vandalism count for damage exceeding $400 and one charge for violating a court order.
Lance Farber allegedly vandalized the Dennis T. Sullivan Memorial Fire Chief’s Home on Bush Street and set fire to a mattress Friday night, according to police department spokesman Sgt. Steve Mannina.
Police arrived at the building a little before 9 p.m. and the fire was contained before it could spread, Mannina added.
Farber was arrested later that evening in San Mateo County for driving under the influence and taken to San Francisco jail, where he was booked on arson and vandalismcharges, according to Mannina.
Farber had been living in the 86-year-old firehouse-shaped building with The City’s recently-appointed planning manager, John Rahaim, under an arrangement organized by the Mayor’s Office, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge. Rahaim, 52, who began working for The City in January, previously worked as planning director for the city of Seattle.
The fire chief does not live at the residence. Talmadge said the Mayor’s Office has agreed to stop using the building for employee accommodation.
Historical antiques and “toppled” pieces of furniture in the building were undamaged, according to Talmadge, but she said new carpeting and an interior paint-job would be needed throughout the three-story building because of smoke and water damage. She said repairs are expected to cost $30,000.
Attorney Randy Knox, hired to represent Farber, said The City would be compensated for any damage caused by his client.
“The taxpayers are not going to foot the bill for this incident,” Knox said, adding that “the only item that burned was a mattress that John Rahaim and Lance Farber brought with them from Seattle.”
Farber was still being held Tuesday at the San Francisco jail because he hadn’t paid $425,000 bail, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey.
District Attorney’s office spokeswoman Connie Chan said Farber is expected to be arraigned this morning. She said he was charged with arson of property, arson of an inhabited dwelling, vandalism and violation of a court order.
Chan said the court order Farber allegedly violated was an emergency protection order and that all charges stemmed from the incident that occurred Friday.