March 13, 2014 in Nation/World

Investigators seek cause of San Francisco construction site fire

Associated Press
 

SAN FRANCISCO – Fire investigators on Wednesday were looking into whether welding work was to blame for a massive blaze that barreled through an apartment building construction site, threatening nearby structures and prompting evacuations as firefighters worked to prevent its spread through a San Francisco neighborhood.

City officials said a catastrophe was narrowly avoided in an up-and-coming area near AT&T Park, home of the Giants.

“I think we’re very lucky that the fire didn’t jump anymore,” Mayor Ed Lee said.

The exact cause of the blaze – one of the largest in the city in recent years – was under investigation. Fire officials were looking into preliminary reports that workers at the block-long site were doing torch work shortly before the fire was reported around 5 p.m. Tuesday, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said.

“It’s too early to determine a cause at this point,” Fire Department Battalion Chief Kirk Richardson said. “Our arson investigators still have a lot of material they have to look at.”

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The burned building was part of a residential development project with 172 units.

It was going up in a former industrial area that became a redevelopment district in the 1990s and has since attracted a mix of high-end residential housing and retail businesses.

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