A five-alarm fire in Bernal Heights displaced at least 40 residents on Saturday afternoon as firefighters battled the blaze for more than four hours and ordered neighbors within a five-block radius to shelter in place.
The roaring blaze sent plumes of black smoke spiraling into the sky after breaking out about 2:19 p.m. at 3312 Mission St. before it was contained about 6:27 p.m.
SFFD spokesperson Jonathan Baxter told reporters at the scene that the fire “rapidly grew” and eventually involved six buildings, including eight addresses.
“We have searched the buildings a number of times,” Baxter said. “At this time we do not have any victims nor any other injuries.”
Heavy smoke from a nearby hardware store prompted police on the scene to warn of potential chemicals in the air.
Firefighters also asked the people in the area to close their windows and doors.
“If you live within that perimeter we’re asking you to shelter in place,” Baxter said. “If the smoke is too heavy for you, exit your building and get out of this area. If you need assistance call 911.”
Sam Mukattash, who works at the Goood Frickin’ Chicken restaurant on the corner of 29th and Missions streets, said he heard an explosion when the fire started near a hardware store on Mission Street.
“I heard it then I saw the flames from the middle of the building,” said Mukattash.