Investigators search for cause of Treasure Island
Fire crews battled a three-alarm fire Wednesday at an abandoned
warehouse on Treasure Island. Fire investigators are searching
for the cause of the fire.
Photos by Mark Grissom, special to Fog City Journal
By Caitlin Cassady and Matt Wynkoop
May 18, 2007
Fire investigators continue to search for what caused a three-alarm
fire that destroyed an abandoned Navy barracks on Treasure Island
Wednesday morning, Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.
The one-story, wood-framed building located at the intersection
of Avenue H and Fifth Street is one of several abandoned military
barracks that remain unused and boarded up on the island, Talmadge
Around 130 firefighters were called to fight the blaze, which
burned for nearly two hours before it was brought under control.
Two firefighters were transported to a local hospital to be treated
for minor burns suffered during the initial fire attack, Talmadge
The building, which is laid out in shape of an H, sustained the
worst damage to its middle portion before flames spread outward
to the rest of the structure, she said.
Fire crews were joined by the San Francisco fireboat, as sufficient
water pressure was not available on the island to supply the six
rigs fighting the flames, Lt. Ken Smith said early this morning.
San Francisco's portable pressure system was enabled so that
fire trucks could hook up to hydrant junctures, which were being
pumped directly out of the bay through a five-inch hose.
"The portable system takes a long time to set up, but once
it is active it's a very effective way to fight fires,'' Smith
said. This is the first time fire crews have used the five-inch
portable system since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Smith said fire crews were put into defensive mode because the
abandoned barracks posed no immediate danger to any other structures.
"We aren't used to letting a fire burn freely in San Francisco,
because there are so many buildings and people, but in this case
it was better to let the building burn than risk the lives of
firefighters,'' he said.
Two fire units stationed on Treasure Island responded to the
flames at around 11:15 p.m. and immediately upgraded the fire
to a second-alarm. Six fire units stationed within San Francisco
soon joined the crews and the fire was upgraded to a third-alarm
at around 11:48 p.m. The fire was contained at around 1 a.m.
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