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Fire Damages SF Pier Expected To Play Host To America's Cup

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A fire at Pier 29 along San Francisco's waterfront reached four alarms Wednesday afternoon before the San Francisco Fire Department was able to gain the upper hand.

The fire was reported about 1:50 p.m. at the two-story building where construction was planned for the 2013 America's Cup, fire Capt. Jeanne Seyler said.

The Embarcadero was shut down near Sansome St. as crews battled the fire. Flames could be seen shooting through the roof near the front of the structure around 2:30 p.m. A few minutes later, part of the facade near the roof - including the Pier 29 sign - collapsed.

About 110 firefighters, including some on a fireboat in the Bay behind the building, battled the blaze, which was declared contained at 3:40 p.m. and under control as of 3:59 p.m., fire officials said.

Firefighters were expected to remain at the building into the night to ensure that flames don't spark back up.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said firefighters had arrived to find "pretty spectacular flames coming through the roof." They fought the blaze from several angles, including from a fireboat in the Bay.

Hayes-White said a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire was likely accidental. She said there might have been workers inside the building when it started, but that "it's too early to determine if that was the cause."

Pier 29 along with neighboring Pier 27 are the planned hub for all competitions in next year's America's Cup yacht race. Operators said the building was largely vacant and was being emptied in preparation for construction.

No injuries have been reported in connection with the blaze.

As a result of the street closures, Golden Gate Transit buses were not making the following stops Wednesday evening: Sansome & Vallejo, Sansome & Filbert, Sansome & Lombard, Embarcadero & Bay, and North Point & Stockton.

America's Cup officials released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying:

Based on information available at this time, we do not anticipate that this will have any impact on our plans for the site and we look forward to moving ahead with the future construction of the America's Cup Village at Pier 27/29.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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