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Supervisor Peskin Apologizes For Criticism Of North Beach Firefight

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin apologized Tuesday to Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White after he criticized the department's efforts to extinguish a large four-alarm blaze in North Beach.

"I apologize to Chief Hayes-White, and I intend to personally convey this to her as soon as I return from the spring legislative recess," Peskin said in a statement.


He said he has a "genuine love" for his constituents, and while it was inappropriate to raise his concerns at the scene of the fire, he would reserve the right to raise more questions about the department's response.

San Francisco fire officials released a statement on Monday outlining a minute-by-minute breakdown of firefighters' efforts to contain the blaze.

The department said firefighters reached 659 Union St. at 7:24 p.m. and were pouring water on the fire by 7:33 p.m. Twenty minutes later, crews determined there were no people in the building and firefighters switched to a "defensive operation" to combat the blaze from outside.

Fire officials said firefighters would succumb to injury or death if they stayed inside the building while water was being poured into it.

A fourth alarm was called at 8:04 p.m. The fire was contained at 9:18 p.m. and fully under control by 1:15 a.m Sunday.

On Monday, acting San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell was critical of Perkin's comments made at the fire scene.

"From my perspective, as you think about it, as huge of a fire as it was, we are incredibly lucky as a city," he said. "There were no civilian injuries. One firefighter was injured and we are obviously very concerned to make sure he heals appropriately but considering the magnitude of the fire, they (firefighters) did an incredible job."

When asked if Hayes-White should resign, Farrell said: "No, absolutely not."

And then he took aim at Peskin.

"Look, to comment that a chief should resign from an elected official in the middle of a live fire is one of the most inappropriate things you can do," he told reporters. "I really commend the fire department for the job they did at that fire."


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