SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A massive fire erupted at a warehouse on San Francisco waterfront early Saturday, quickly growing to four alarms as more than 100 firefighters rushed to battle the blaze.
The firefighters began responding to 911 calls of a fire on the waterfront at Taylor and Jones streets around 4:15 a.m. Arriving crews were confronted with towering flames engulfing the warehouse, forcing them to take a defensive stance.
The warehouse contained a large fish processing operation — family-owned Caito Fisheries. The company is a major processor for the Northern California crab fleet.
— San Francisco Firefighters 798 (@SFFFLocal798) May 23, 2020
The structure began to collapse shortly after firefighters arrived. San Francisco’s Fireboat 3 came on the scene, battling the blaze next to the U.S. liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien, but fire had spread underneath the pier. Streets around the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood have been shutdown.
San Francisco Fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter said the fireboat crew saved the historic ship.
“When firefighters arrived, the flames were literally lapping over the Jeremiah O’Brien,” he said. “They literally saved the O’Brien.”
Firefighters said the massive blaze had spread to other structures on the pier. By 6:40 a.m., firefighters had the fire contained but it would not be extinguished for hours.
“We have fire isolated to the rear of Pier 45,” Baxter said at 7 a.m.
Baxter asked onlookers on the ground and on boats to stay away from the area. The Coast Guard was on the scene helping to police the waters.
Building inspectors will determine how badly the pier has been damaged.
The fire could be seen for miles. A large plume of smoke covered much of the San Francisco Bay, stretching from Sausalito to Oakland. Several residents have reported on social media to being able to smell the smoke.
Visitors to San Francisco’s popular Fisherman’s Wharf are very familiar with the pier as it has several old warships docked along side of it.
No injuries were reported to the firefighters. An investigation will determine the cause of the blaze.