The rain is on its way out and the sun drying out the sidewalks before it disappears for the day, so here is your afternoon report:

A group of students at the firefighters academy practiced on the extension of ladders at the department’s training site on 19th street between Folsom and Shotwell streets this afternoon, attracting the occasional spectator.

The training is part of a 17-week course that this group will complete in mid-December, according to one person at the training site. On one side of the monolithic practice structure in the academy’s lot, students were training on a 50-foot ladder, and on the other, they were maneuvering the 30-footer. The former ladder is a wooden behemoth, weighing in at 350 pounds and requiring six people to handle.

The source on site said the ladders are used when the engine’s mechanized ladders and lifts can’t maneuver San Francisco’s characteristic overhead wires — the ground ladders can be “thrown” between obstacles.

Once firefighters reach the roof with these ladders they can ventilate the building, relieving the pressure that has built up inside.

When this rotation of students completes their training, they will graduate to working out in the field.

This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. Got ideas or suggestions? Let us know what you think by sending an email to

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