(Courtesy Port of San Francisco)

Pier 45 being inspected for structural integrity after four-alarm fire

Port of San Francisco officials began inspecting Pier 45 Sunday for strutural integrity while fire crews remained on the scene following a four-alarm warehouse fire that damaged the underside of the pier early Saturday.

San Francisco Fire Department crews will remain on the scene of the fire through at least Monday, a fire department spokesman said.

“These units are tasked with making sure that flare-ups and hot spots stay out,” SFFD Lt. Jonathan Baxter said Sunday on social media. The fire department is working closely with the Port of San Francisco on “multiple topics” related to the fire, Baxter added.

One firefighter was injured fighting the fire, which was reported at 4:15 a.m. Saturday, and at least three tenants of the warehouse were displaced, fire officials said. The fire was under control by 2 p.m. Saturday, fire officials said.

One of the seafood businesses at the Pier, Water2Table, said on social media that millions of dollars worth of crab pots and fishing gear owned by small independent fishermen were destroyed.

“The kick in the gut for these guys is that most of them brought in their gear early due to covid19,” the post on Instagram said. “If not for the lack of demand from restaurant closures their gear most likely would have still been in the water.”

The fire damaged the underside of the pier, Baxter said Saturday. Port of San Francisco officials said initial inspections started Sunday to determine the structural integrity of the pier and its structures.

“Findings will be reported to the public,” the Port said Sunday on social media. “Port tenants impacted by the fire will be kept informed and notified when safe to return.”

Port officials also said Sunday that Pier 45 tenants affected by the fire have been connected with disaster relief resources through the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Volunteers with the SS Jeremiah O’Brien National Liberty Ship Memorial say that while the historic World War II cargo ship “escaped mostly unscathed” from the fire, the organization that supports it did not fare as well.

“Items in storage and pier side have been destroyed,” the National Liberty Ship Memorial said Sunday in a post on its Facebook page. “Recovery will take time and money.”

The organization is appealing for donations to replace what was lost.

The O’Brien, launched in Maine in June 1943, is one of only two Liberty ships of more than 2,700 built during World War II that remain fully functional. The ship, designated a National Historic Landmark, is a living museum docked at Pier 45 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Donations can be made online at https://bit.ly/2TzcSzD.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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