San Francisco: Fire at Pier 29 Won’t Affect Nearby AC Activities

A four-alarm fire heavily damaged a historic pier building on San Francisco’s waterfront Wednesday, June 20th, but the blaze won’t interrupt construction of nearby America’s Cup facilities, official said.

Dozens of firefighters controlled the flames in the main structure of Pier 29, called a bulkhead building, by 3:40 p.m. But by then the roof of the building had collapsed, said fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge. Pier 29 sits on the Embarcadero, roughly halfway between the Bay Bridge and tourist destination Pier 39.

The building, built in 1915, is vacant and no one was injured in the fire, which was reported around 1:50 p.m.  Nearby Pier 27 will be transformed into a 10,000-seat stadium and starting line for the America’s Cup in 2013.  The fire won’t delay San Francisco’s preparations for the race, Port of San Francisco Executive Director Monique Moyer said.

It doesn’t appear the fire was intentionally set, but officials didn’t immediately point to any cause.

Some construction workers were welding inside the southeast corner of the building Wednesday morning, Moyer said. She added it was unclear if the welding sparked the blaze.

Pier 29′s only role in the boat race was to have been as extra space or office space for the event, Moyer said. The steel skeleton of the structure under construction on Pier 27 was unharmed in Wednesday’s blaze.

The damage to the bulkhead building left some neighbors and lovers of San Francisco history worried about the structure’s future. Jon Golinger, head of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers residents group, said he’d been personally involved for a decade in the struggle to save the building. He said it had been threatened with demolition by mall, office and hotel projects. He said he considers Pier 29 and its neighboring piers essential to the city’s history.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Golinger, 41, a 12-year resident of the area. “You fight for something you think is worth saving, and in a puff of smoke, you have to start over again.”

Courtesy of www.mercurynews.com

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