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3-Alarm Inferno Races Through SF Mission District Building

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A three-alarm fire in San Francisco's Mission District on Sunday night in an abandoned building already damaged in a four-alarm fatal fire last year has intensified calls for action on the rapidly deteriorating property.

The fire in the mixed-use building at 3222 22nd St. was first reported at 11:23 p.m. and was brought under control shortly before 12:30 a.m., according to San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter.

Residents in neighboring buildings were evacuated during the fire.

There were no injuries and fire officials did not find anyone inside the building during a search.

Baxter said the fire's cause remains under investigation and fire investigators were still working today to determine exactly how much damage it caused.

The building was already in bad shape, even before Sunday night's fire. It has sat largely untouched since a four-alarm fire on Jan. 28, 2015, that killed one man and displaced 60 residents and 18 businesses.

Despite calls from community groups and elected officials for the owner to either rebuild or sell, the building's condition has deteriorated severely since then, making it a nuisance and eyesore for many community members. The displaced residents, meanwhile, have been scattered, with many placed in temporary affordable housing in locations such as Parkmerced and Treasure Island.

The Department of Building Inspection has ordered the building demolished, although the order requires the owner to preserve a portion of the structure to maintain the tenants' legal right of return. However, it has been several weeks since the order was issued and no action appears to have been taken on the property.

The Mission Economic Development Agency has put in a bid for the property in the hopes of seeing it redeveloped as affordable housing and to allow displaced tenants to return. The property owner, Hawk Lou, has so far not responded to that offer, MEDA spokesman Christopher Gil said.

"Our concern is that the building is sitting there vacant and causing a hazard for the neighborhood," Gil said.

"Another three-alarm fire like that, it's just crazy, it has to stop," Gil said. "Those poor neighbors, if you can imagine if you had to live next door to that."

Even if Lou does not accept MEDA's offer, the group hopes to see affordable housing developed on the site in some fashion.
TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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