Blaze damages Mission apartments

A two-alarm fire Thursday in the Mission district displaced residents and heavily damaged a multi-unit Victorian building.

Firefighters responded to a call just before 3:30 p.m., reporting flames and smoke in the 700 block of Treat Avenue, spokesman Lt. Ken Smith said.

“When we got here, the structure was fully involved at the front,” he said, and flames were licking at a neighboring building.

“We got in, we were able to open the walls, and prevent that fire from spreading,” Smith said.

He said the fire started under dangerous conditions, in a closely built neighborhood with wood-framed houses.

Smith estimated the damage at a minimum of $1 million.

As firefighters began to haul charred belongings out into the street, residents of the upper unit leafed through papers and photo albums. The papers included notes and instructions on taking the state bar exam.

Neighbor Sonia Ruiz said her boyfriend, Gabrial Lanzarin, saw the blaze as he walked to her house to visit. He alerted neighbors and broke a window in the burning building, she said. Police arrested Lanzarin for an outstanding warrant, Ruiz said.

“When the flames came out, everybody ran because the car in the driveway caught fire,” neighbor Heydi Sazo said. She said fire poured out of the front window after it was broken.

At press time, the Red Cross did not have a final count on how many people had been displaced.

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