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In brief: Fire destroys San Francisco high-rise

San Francisco – A major fire burning Tuesday in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood sent an enormous plume of black smoke high into the sky.

The five-alarm fire that began around 5 p.m. ravaged a high-rise building under construction on the west side of Fourth Street at China Basin. A wall of the structure collapsed about an hour later.

San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Eric O’Neal said all residents on the east side of Fourth Street had been evacuated and that the Red Cross was on the scene. One firefighter suffered second-degree burns to the face.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.

The Mission Bay neighborhood is a onetime industrial area that lies along the San Francisco Bay.

It is home to a University of California, San Francisco medical campus and is close to AT&T Park, the San Francisco Giants stadium.

Plea negotiations resume in Army sex assault case

Fort Bragg, N.C. – The sexual assault case against Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was suspended indefinitely Tuesday as the general’s lawyers began negotiating a possible plea deal with Army prosecutors.

The abrupt halt came after a military judge, in an extraordinary ruling, declared Monday that he found evidence of improper political interference by the Army in the highly publicized case.

He gave Sinclair’s lawyers an opportunity to seek a plea agreement even though testimony in the case began last week.