Michael Mallory (left) watches firefighters work after being displaced by a fire in the Castro District Saturday morning. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

Large fire displaces residents in Castro District

A large fire in San Francisco’s Castro District Saturday morning injured two people and displaced eight residents.

The four-alarm fire in the 400 block of Castro Street near Market broke out around 4:30 a.m. and damaged two buildings at 456 and 460 Castro St. One person was taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation, while another reportedly declined transportation.

Officials initially believed around 13 people were displaced, but some residents have since been allowed to return to their units, bringing the number displaced to eight.

Michael Mallory, who has lived in one of two units at 456 Castro St. with several roommates since 2003, said his roommate woke him up early this morning saying he smelled fire or smoke. The two went out a back door that leads to a patio and saw what he described as a wall of fire between his building and the neighboring property.

Mallory said he ran back upstairs to pack some things, and remembered to grab his phone but forgot his wallet and keys in the rush.

The Red Cross gave him a blanket and money for a place to stay as he waited outside, and city officials said they would help connect him with a subsidy program on Monday. An administrator at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mallory said he had already been offered a room by a parishioner there and was blessed to be surrounded by loving neighbors, friends and community.

“It brings to light the services like the Red Cross that are so vital,” he said.

Mallory said a homeless man who lives in the neighborhood named Dane attempted to enter one of the buildings to rescue a man who was still stuck inside. Firefighters arrived and stopped him and were able to rescue the man, who was taken to the hospital.

The buildings, a mix of commercial and residential, house Osaka Sushi and Q Bar. Both restaurants have sustained water damage, according to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.

“The Castro is already experiencing significant challenges with vacant storefronts and quality of life issues,” Mandelman said. “This is a blow the neighborhood doesn’t really need and it’s sad for the residents displaced.”

Firefighters responded to a large fire in the Castro District Saturday morning. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

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