Extensive fire damage at 766 Valencia Street will likely force commercial tenants to find new homes. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Bernal Cutlery and Mission Bicycle, as well as the shipping offices for Paxton Gate, will likely be forced to relocated after the holidays so that extensive smoke and water damage at 766 Valencia St. near 19th Street can be remediated following a fire Dec. 6.

On Thursday, Josh Donald, who co-owns Bernal Cutlery with his wife Kelly Kozak, was still assessing the damage and hoping to reopen as early as Sunday to take advantage of the busy holiday season.

“We had some stuff damaged. We’re going to have a hell of a fire sale after we sort through everything,” Donald said.

Though he hopes to reopen Bernal Cutlery soon, it will be a short reprieve. Donald said contractors will end up having to rip out plaster and replace it next year, likely forcing them to move to a temporary location.

Kozak said the fire was like a “punch in the gut.”

This summer the couple had moved from a small space on Guerrero to the larger spot on Valencia. Now, they’re struggling to make plans moving forward, Kozak said.

Paxton Gate’s founder Sean Quigley is the master tenant at 766 Valencia and works out of offices on the third floor. In a phone call with Mission Local, he said that the building’s owner will soon start repair work on the bottom two floors.

Wood in the second-floor ceiling absorbed so much smoke that it was roasted and permanently smells like smoke; it will need to be replaced. The first floor’s ceiling also absorbed a lot of leaking water from the upstairs sprinklers, so that the wood and the lath and plaster are soaked and in danger of falling.

Quigley wears a respirator in his third-floor office because the odors are so bad. He too will have to find a new spot, hopefully close to the Paxton Gate retail store one block south on Valencia Street.

Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Though plans are still being developed, he’s been focused on trying to help some of the tenants find a new place to move into temporarily.

“We’re hoping to find a way to phase it in ways that retail folks can deal with the move,” Quigley said.

San Francisco Fire Department’s spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fire began in a second-floor workshop run by Mission Bicycle and destroyed a wall shared by the workshop and a therapist. The blaze happened around midnight when no one was inside.

Mission Bicycle general manager Josh Philippi said insurance investigators had yet to arrive and assess the damage. Their entire workshop has been taped off since last Friday, forcing the four-person company to evaluate how and where they will work.

“We have to buy all new tools, we have to buy all new equipment, all new parts, everything,” Phillippi said.

He noted that the shop is small enough that they could even relocate somewhere else within the building if contractors have to remove the plaster ceiling and walls.

Incline Gallery, another tenant, was about to mark its ninth anniversary on Dec. 13, but canceled the event due to the fire.

Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

In a message posted to their Facebook page, the gallery’s management wrote that they are hoping to “get everything cleared and back to normal” as soon as possible.

“Though there is major cleaning up to be done, we were very lucky that the gallery experienced only minor damages and more importantly no one was hurt,” their Facebook post said.

Incline Gallery did not respond to Mission Local’s emails.

It’s unclear exactly how long construction will take, but Donald and Quigley both said that it would likely start in January and last for a couple of months.

Follow Us

Leave a comment

Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *