Wire thieves suspected in Presidio fire

Authorities suspect copper wire thieves caused a one-alarm fire Sunday in an empty building in the Thornburgh district — part of a group of historic Presidio buildings that may soon be slated for development.

The building, at 1050 Thornburgh Road, held the boiler for the old Letterman Hospital, Presidio Trust spokeswoman Dana Polk said.

According to the San Francisco Fire Department, the fire was reported at 3:13 a.m. Firefighters were able to get it under control by 4:03 a.m.

“It was caused by vandals stealing copper wire,” Polk said. “They accidentally cut out a power line when they were trying to get to the copper load. It caused a spark that started the fire.”

Fire damage to the building was minimal, but smoke damage was considerable, Polk said. The fire knocked out power in the immediate area. Presidio officials expect it to be restored this morning.

“There aren’t many residential units on that part of the park, but there may be some nonresidential tenants in that area who are affected,” Polk said.

The vandals were not caught and the fire remains under investigation. Thieves steal copper wire in order to sell it to scrap metal plants.

tbarak@examiner.com

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