$30,000 in damages for fire chief’s historic residence

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News

Published on February 26, 2008 with No Comments

By Ari Burack

February 26, 2008

The landmark residence of the San Francisco fire chief sustained as estimated $30,000 in damage in a Friday night fire, allegedly set by the boyfriend of the city’s new planning department director, the Fire Department announced today.

Police reported that Lance Farber, 47, was booked into San Francisco County Jail on felony counts of arson and vandalism, for the fire at the Dennis T. Sullivan Memorial Fire Chief’s Home, an official city landmark built in 1922 at 870 Bush St.

When officers arrived, they found a garage door open and the building empty, according to police. An area of the home had been vandalized and a mattress set on fire.

San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies arrested Farber later that night on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to police.

According to Lt. Mindy Talmadge, damage to the three-story building, which is not occupied by current Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White but contains a number of antiquities, was mostly from smoke and vandalism.

Talmadge said today that the interior will need repainting and the carpet will be replaced, but no antiquities or historical items were damaged.

Farber had reportedly been staying at the home with newly appointed Planning Department Director John Rahaim.

According to mayor’s office spokesman Nathan Ballard, Mayor Gavin Newsom had “an informal arrangement” with the Fire Department to allow new department heads to stay there while they resettled from other cities.

Hayes-White has now asked Newsom to discontinue the practice, Ballard said.

“The mayor will be honoring the chief’s request,” Ballard said.

He added that Rahaim has decided on his own to stay elsewhere while he finds a permanent residence.

“This is a difficult time for John Rahaim and the mayor is totally supportive of him,” Ballard said.

Ballard said the mayor’s office is waiting until a police investigation concludes to determine who should be held responsible for the damages.

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