Firefighters arrived at 3539 24th Street between Guerrero Street and San Jose Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. this morning to battle an electrical fire in the attic of a three-unit residential building. The one-alarm fire was quickly contained, though it left water damage and some fire damage to the top unit, said Assistant Chief Dave Franklin.
No injuries were reported. Battalion Six Chief Jack Clemens said that tenants would only be allowed to return to their units if the landlord performed repairs to old wiring throughout the building, which was the apparent cause of the fire. He added that the Red Cross would arrange temporary shelter for the tenants, and a Red Cross employee on the scene said they had made recommendations for shelter to at least four tenants.
Brendan, a tenant who declined to give his last name, estimated the building was home to about a dozen tenants. He was shopping for Thanksgiving groceries with his mother around the corner when he heard about the fire.
“Bad timing,” Brendan said, “but it’s great to know we have a fire department so responsive.” He guessed that the fire would have been worse had it occurred at night, because no one would have noticed until it had done more damage.
Battalion Chief Clemens said the same – a tenant working from home that day had called 911 when he smelled smoke.
“He’s lucky it didn’t happen at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Clemens said.
Regarding the frequency of fires, Clemens remarked, “‘Tis the season.” He explained that residents tend to use more heat and electricity in the winter, which can overload electrical systems and cause fires.
This is the eleventh fire affecting residential buildings in the neighborhood Mission Local has reported on since the beginning of the year, and the second this month. More than 100 people have been displaced from the neighborhood this year due to fires.
A fire safety task force, convened after three deaths resulted from two of this year’s fires, recommended at the beginning of this month that alarm systems installed in residential houses be loud enough to wake sleeping tenants, but did not adopt the recommendation of some supervisors to require old buildings to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems, which are mandated in all new buildings.