Photo by Madonna Gevargas

More than 20 people were displaced after a three-alarm fire damaged five buildings near 23rd and Capp streets Saturday morning, authorities said.

No tenant injuries were reported, but one firefighter was being checked for dehydration, said Mark Gonzales, the deputy chief of operations with the San Francisco Fire Department.

The fire started in a lower-level apartment at 3222 23rd St. at around 9:30 a.m., according to the Chronicle. In total, five units were damaged — at least three buildings on Capp Street and one adjacent building on 23rd Street. More than 20 people were displaced by the fire, said Kathleen Maclay of the Red Cross.

Firefighters were dispatched to a two-alarm fire that was later upgraded to three alarms.

“It was a tough fire, getting in there and fighting aggressively in all five buildings,” Gonzales said.

Some 150 firefighters were called to prevent the fire from spreading, as the property lines are made of wood, Gonzales said. At least four of the buildings were built in 1900, according to property records.

“I am surprised they contained it when they did,” Gonzales said. “All units on scene did a good job.”

Ursula Newenhouse, who lives in the 763-765 Capp Street building, was awakened by her neighbors upstairs.

“I woke up to the neighbors yelling fire, fire!” she said. “I didn’t even grab my purse, I just grabbed my dog.”

Her upstairs neighbor, Hussain, said he woke up and saw fire coming out of his back porch and into the kitchen. As he spoke with reporters, Hussain stood at the perimeter of the fire scene, wearing no shoes. His three roommates, who stood nearby, appeared shaken by the experience.

Newenhouse’s yellow labrador, Lola, kept trying to get back inside the building. Seeing Newenhouse struggle, Madonna Gevargas, a neighbor from across the street, gave her a leash to restrain her dog.

“That’s the least I could do,” Gevargas said.

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. Wowe what a wake up call.
    Renters insurance..I’ll be getting.
    I sure hope my neighbor understand now I was trippin so hard when they left a egg cooking on the stove after leaving the house by mistake and had our Bldg alarms going off.

  2. The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter will have a service center set up at Mission Presbyterian, 3261 23rd St., from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, to help those affected by the fire.

    1. Kathleen, I work with the Dolores Shelter Program. Please e-mail me at marlon at dscs dot org or direct message on twitter at sf_mcm about possible ways to help aside from cash donations.

      1. Hey Marlon and Kathleen,

        Please let us know what the neighbors and community can do to help these folks.

        1. Just seconding this request; would like to help, but not sure how to get aid directly to those affected.

          1. mama wheee, thanks for sharing the facebook page. There are a few of us posting updates on that page, including updates on the clothing donation drive

  3. I live 10 minute walk away from the location and the fire odor went in my hallway and hearing the fire department for like 20-30 minutes. I am glad everyone is ok but hope everything gets repair to be back in their homes.

  4. How did it start?
    This is why I get freaky when people shoot off fireworks in the Mission. It take much for fire to thrive…ya know? (not that this fire was started by an incendiary device…)

  5. Hey, we’re trying now to track down any information on what can be done to help the displaced people from that building. Please, if anyone finds out more, can they post here, or is Mission Local finds out more, can they update the story?