Fire in historic S.F. building ruled accidental

A fire that burned an historic building in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood for 18 hours Dec. 18 has been ruled accidental, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Friday.

The fire started around 7 a.m. in a three-story building at 1133 Market St. and kept blazing until about 1 a.m. the next morning, fire officials reported.

Officials determined the wood-frame and brick building built around the turn of the 20th century would have to be torn down.

Granite Excavation & Demolition Inc. started demolition Dec. 20 and is continuing to work on the project, Talmadge said.

Demolition Project Manager Tom Pietras explained the building burned from the inside out and left 50 to 60 feet of brick wall standing without much support.

“It left the building like a water balloon,just ready to burst,” he said.

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection spokesman William Strawn said the city expedited the demolition permit due to the building’s condition, which doesn’t happen often.

The building, possibly an old dance hall for an Irish fraternal organization, was undergoing renovations before the fire, Talmadge said.

The union hall next door to the burned building has been red-tagged, Talmadge said, and no one is being allowed inside until demolition work is completed.

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