A five-alarm fire damaged several commercial buildings in the area of 13th and Folsom streets on Tuesday July 28, 2020. (Courtesy Supervisor Matt Haney)

Five-alarm structure fire hits multiple buildings near 13th and Folsom

San Francisco firefighters battled a five-alarm fire in an area just south of the Central Freeway near South Van Ness Tuesday morning.

The fire was first reported on the side of the Central Freeway in the area of 13th and Folsom streets around 6:30 a.m., according to Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson. It grew rapidly to five alarms, spreading to six commercial buildings along Eerie Street to 14th Street and Folsom Street to South Van Ness Avenue.

Among those buildings was one housing the Sheriff’s Department’s field operations headquarters and some administrative functions. Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said firefighers were able to largely protect the building and the department was able to transfer staff to other locations and did not suffer a significant interruption to operations.

The fire was reported about 90 percent contained by 10:30 a.m., but fire crews are expected to remain on the scene tamping out hot spots for several days. The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

At least 160 firefighters were on scene and about 60 pieces of fire apparatus at the fire’s peak. One firefighter was reported injured and taken to San Francisco General Hospital but later released.

Only commercial buildings in the area but nearby residential buildings were evacuated and some had their power shut off. Three people were reported displaced as of Tuesday afternoon. Businesses hit by the flames include Bartfield Sales Co.

Freeway ramps and parts of Mission Street were shut down due to the fire, and buses were rerouted around the area, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The Red Cross was staging at Rainbow Grocery at 1745 Folsom St. Others in the area were advised to shelter in place and close their doors and windows to limit exposure to smoke. Drivers were asked to avoid the area.

(Video courtesy Ashley Yan)

A five-alarm fire damaged several commercial buildings in the area of 13th and Folsom streets on Tuesday July 28, 2020. (Courtesy Supervisor Matt Haney)

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Firefighters put water on the flames of a five-alarm fire just south of the Central Freeway. (Chris Victorio/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

A five-alarm fire just south of the Central Freeway sends a huge plume of smoke into the air. (Chris Victorio/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Firefighters put water on the flames of a five-alarm fire just south of the Central Freeway. (Chris Victorio/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

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