The Frances Hotel building on Mission Street. Photo by Laura Wenus

Firefighters responded to a one-alarm fire at 5:22 a.m. Monday morning inside a low-income SRO hotel on Mission Street between 16th and 17th streets. No injuries were reported, but four people were displaced.

The fire began inside the top-floor room of the three-story Frances Hotel at 2084 Mission St. By 5:31 a.m., the fire was under control, according to social media posts from the San Francisco Fire Department.  It’s unclear how many units the building has or how many units were affected.

Later in the morning, around 11 a.m., tenants were dealing with the flooding that often follows firefighting efforts. Burned debris, including a small couch and partially burned mattress, were on the street in front of the hotel.

One resident of the SRO, Mitch Fuller, said the building’s fire alarms are activated every month or so but it’s rare that a serious fire occurs. He was asleep when the alarms went off.

“I heard the sirens and smelled the smoke. Then they started banging on the doors,” Fuller said of the firefighter response. “They really got in there and took care of business.”

A manager at the hotel said the fire was likely caused by someone living in the room, and that the fire damage to the room itself was not extensive. Water had affected the unit, he said, but the extent of the damage is unclear.

In the ground floor, staff of the adult toy and accessory store Mission Secrets mopped the floor under a ceiling missing the majority of its tiles. Much of the merchandise was unsalvageable, having been soaked in water.

“I try to have a beautiful store, I just got some great new lingerie in and then this happens,” lamented Rich Crawshaw, a district manager for the store. Crawshaw said fires upstairs and the subsequent water damage have affected the store six or seven times in the last few years of the store’s 43-year tenure in that location. Crawshaw estimated the damage would cost several thousand dollars to repair.

Another SRO tenant, who requested anonymity, said that before the alarms were activated, they heard shouting and banging in the hallway. When the alarms went off, the resident evacuated the room and was met with heavy smoke.

“We walked out and there was all this horrible smelling smoke,” the resident recalled. “There was all this water and fire and chaos.”

Water from extinguishing the fire seeped into multiple rooms, dripping from ceilings in the floors below.

According to the Fire Department, Red Cross workers are assisting the displaced residents.

Early Monday afternoon, firefighters responded to the same block for the second time in the same day, due to burned food in a unit of a building next door to the SRO. No injuries or serious damage were reported.

Burned debris outside the Frances Hotel after a fire. Photo by Laura Wenus

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