A one-alarm fire broke out at on Valencia Street between 17th and 18th streets around 4:40 p.m. Monday. No one was injured or displaced, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. By 5:20 p.m., the fire was contained.
The three-story building at 663 Valencia St. houses Indian Restaurant Curry Up Now on the ground floor and a small hotel, Hotel Tropica, on the second and third floors.
Fire Department Spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said it was an outdoor fire that started between 663 Valencia and an abandoned building next door. He said the exterior sidings of both buildings were damaged, “but very minimal,” he said.
He said the cause was “possibly a cigarette.”
Officer B. Rock, who was on the scene, said the police began to evacuate the buildings once they saw the fire and called it in.
“I heard an alarm and it smelled like burning tires,” said a woman named Jochelle, 22, who was staying at Hotel Tropica, which has 40 rooms.
She said she was feeding her baby when she smelled the burning and moments later heard the fire alarm.
Patricia Foster, a neighbor of the building, said she saw plumes of black smoke at around 4:40 p.m. “At first I thought it was a barbecue,” she said. “Then I saw the black smoke.”
Ten minutes later, she said, she heard the fire trucks, and shortly afterward, she heard the axes of firefighters breaking into the roof of the building on fire. “That didn’t last very long,” she said. “They had it under control pretty quickly.”
Chris, 21, was just getting to work at Vietnamese restaurant MAU around 4:50 p.m. when police told him and his co-workers to evacuate. “They came in and said, ‘There’s a fire upstairs,’” he said, standing on the corner of 18th and Valencia. “Now we’re here.”