District Attorney Chesa Boudin on Tuesday announced felony charges against the man who certified the malfunctioning alarm in a tragic 2015 Mission District fire that killed one man and displaced many others.
Tommy Jue of San Francisco has been charged with grand theft, using a contractors license with intent to defraud, filing a false or forged instrument, forgery and insurance fraud.
Jue allegedly worked as a contractor under the name “Tom Jue & Company” from 2015-2018 using contractor’s license numbers that weren’t his, according to court records. While working under false pretenses, he allegedly performed fire alarm service or installation at 15 job sites and submitted signed forms to the Department of Building Inspection misrepresenting himself as a licensed contractor.
Jue reportedly certified the alarm in a building at 22nd and Mission streets that was destroyed in a four-alarm fire in December of 2015, killing one resident, injuring six and displacing 40 residents and more than a dozen businesses.
Tenants in the building told The San Francisco Examiner after the fire that the buildings’ alarms did not sound. Officials later said the fire was likely caused by an electrical short in the building, which had a history of fire code violations.
Landlord Hawk Lou, who owned other properties along the Mission Street corridor, said that the fire alarm was tested and had worked properly as of its last inspection on Jan. 28, 2014, and provided a copy of his inspection form from Tom Jue & Co., The Examiner reported at the time.
“Contracting without a license, particularly when installing essential fire safety devices, erodes public trust and puts lives at risk. People who jeopardize public safety in this way must be held accountable,” Boudin said in a statement in announcing the charges against Jue. “Consumers should be able to rely on a contractor’s license as an assurance that that they’re being assisted by a competent expert in their field. ”
Residents who have had work done by Jue or his company are encouraged to contact the District Attorney’s Office, and to have the work checked by a licensed contractor.
Jue was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.