UPDATE: Mission Street building not yet collapsed

Building inspectors are still weighing the structural integrity of a vacant building still smoldering this afternoon in San Francisco's South of Market area, a spokesman with the city's Department of Building Inspection said.

“The good news right now, is it has not yet collapsed,” Department of Building Inspection spokesman William Strawn said.

Firefighters have been battling the single-alarm blaze at a three-story, stone and red brick building at 1133 Mission St. since about 7 a.m.

Should there be a collapse, part of the structure could crumble into Mission Street and officials are determining whether that section of the street will have to be closed for the afternoon commute, according to Strawn.

The building, emblazoned on its street-side entrance with “Knights of the Red Branch,” was undergoing renovation and may have been used as a dance hall for an Irish fraternal organization, according to fire officials.

The building directly adjoins the San Francisco Fire Department's Local 798 union hall, which so far has not been damaged.

Mission Street between Seventh and Eighth streets remained closed to traffic this afternoon, as firefighters sprayed water and flame-smothering, biodegradable foam into the building, through its front windows and partially collapsed roof.

Stress cracks from the heat have broken through the surface of the building's exterior.

“We are paying close attention, in case what's going on there might result in a building collapse,” Strawn said. He added that inspectors will be able to make a more complete assessment once firefighters completely extinguish the fire.

Though the fire has been contained, fire spokesman Lt. Ken Smith had no estimate as to when the fire would be brought under control and estimated that firefighters would remain there throughout the evening to monitor the structure for hot spots.

Earlier this morning, a firefighter the roof's collapsing rafters injured one firefighter, causing all firefighters to be pulled from the building.

Fire officials received calls about the fire beginning at 6:50 a.m., but Smith said the fire “was probably burning for some time before they got there.”

Workers at the building told fire officials they left at 10 p.m. Monday, according to Smith.

The cause of the blaze is currently unknown.

— Bay City News

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