Eight displaced in two-alarm fire in Inner Richmond

Eight people were displaced from their homes Wednesday following a two-alarm fire in the Inner Richmond district that began in a scanning center for the nonprofit Internet Archive.

No one was injured in the blaze that ripped through the single-story building on Clement Street near Funston Avenue about 3:45 a.m., a Fire Department official said.

The fire spread to an adjacent building, displacing eight residents after the third floor of that building was deemed uninhabitable.

The fire was under control by about 5 a.m.

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit online library with 3 million daily users that provides free access to digital books, videos and music, said founder and digital librarian Brewster Kahle.

It appears that none of the nonprofits' collections were lost in the blaze, Kahle said.

He said the building that was damaged was a scanning center where seven employees worked on “high-end digitizations of books, movies and microfilm.”

Kahle said although the damage is extensive, almost everything appears to be replaceable. He said the Internet Archive’s headquarters is next door and no data were lost in the fire.

The organization has 30 scanning centers nationwide, and the other centers will absorb some of the work that was being done at the center that burned.

The space that burned is a side office to a main building that was once a Christian Science church that opened in 1923, Kahle said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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