Russian sailors to get thanks, 146 years later

Visiting Russian sailors who helped beat down a San Francisco conflagration could soon have their deeds recognized in a waterfront plaque – 146 years after the blaze was extinguished.

In 1863, the Russian Imperial Pacific Fleet accepted the U.S. government’s invitation to winter their ships in San Francisco Bay.

Within days of the fleet’s October arrival, fire took hold of the part of The City that is now the Financial District, and the Russian sailors used their firefighting equipment to help local firefighters battle the blaze.

The sailors’ firefighting effort, led by Russian Admiral A. A. Popov, was quickly recognized in 1863 by the Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday, nearly 146 years after the fire, the San Francisco Port Commission will hold a hearing to consider allowing the San Francisco-based United Humanitarian Mission nonprofit to permanently install a bronze plaque commemorating the sailors’ deeds outside the Waterfront Restaurant at Pier 7 on the Embarcadero.

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