The building that caught fire Thursday morning, critically injuring two, has a long history of building code violations and a pending report in which it is “deemed unsafe,” public records show.
In a notice of violation dated Jan. 5, 2009 — a complaint that’s still pending and unresolved — the box labeled “unsafe building” is checked and, among nine violations, “there are no smoke detectors,” the report states.
That proved disastrous on the morning of Dec. 1, when a fire broke out in the upstairs unit at 3356 24th St. Residents said that others who smelled the fire woke them up just after 4 a.m. No one remembered hearing any alarms go off.
Twenty-three tenants living in two adjacent buildings were evacuated.
The building is owned by Susanna Shaw. Several calls by Mission Local to Shaw went unanswered. Tenants have been unable to reach Shaw since the morning of the fire.
“It’s crazy, they had just asked for smoke detectors the day before,” said Anna Fizyta, referring to the third-floor tenants’ request to Shaw.
Fizyta, who has lived in the building for several years, believes that Shaw has been attentive to major concerns regarding the building and showed compassion to her tenants. However, Fizyta said that timeliness wasn’t always a factor.
Fizyta’s unit suffered extensive damage. It is directly below the area on the third floor where it is suspected the fire began.
Inspectors visited the building multiple times over the last three years and cited, among other things, the absence of smoke detectors and an approved secondary exit. They said the situation posed a serious life hazard to the building’s occupants.
The inspectors’ reports also questioned whether fire-resistant materials and methods of construction were used in the construction of the dwellings. The citations were unabated at the time of the fire, records show.
Since 1994, the city has issued multiple citations against Shaw, who owns a dozen properties throughout Noe Valley and the Mission.
Two of the tenants at 3356 24th St. suffered critical injuries. Fizyta said one victim, found unconscious in the area where the fire originated, suffered severe burns and remains in critical condition.
Citing an ongoing investigation, the Fire Department could not confirm the location where the victim was found.
The other victim listed in critical condition suffered serious lacerations as he tried to escape through a third-story window. In addition, two other tenants were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The Fire Department declined to comment on the current condition of those injured.
The fire spread to the nearby floors of the same building — 3360 and 3358 24th St., which are also owned by Shaw, according to public records.
The apartments just east of those — 3354, 3350 and 3352 24th St. — suffered smoke and water damage and were also evacuated, but there were no injuries, according to the Fire Department.
In total, 94 firefighters were called to the scene, one of whom suffered smoke inhalation.
At several other properties owned by Shaw, city inspectors have noted missing fire extinguishers, combustible and flammable items stored illegally, and the obstruction of exits.
Ted Gullicksen from the San Francisco Tenants Union said Shaw was “habitually negligent,” citing the large number of complaints his organization has received from tenants throughout the years.
“She’s notoriously bad,” said Gullicksen.