SAN FRANCISCO -- Salvage crews began cleaning up today the half-block razed in the city's largest fire since the 1906 earthquake and officials said any bodies in the wreckage would have been 'literally shrunk' by the heat.
The general alarm fire, which was allegedly set by a part-time house painter, destroyed or damaged a homosexual bathouse being renovated and 26 other buildings before it was extinguished.
Damage was set at $6 million from the blaze, which left 119 persons homeless.
Although no bodies have been found, Fire Chief Andrew Casper has not ruled out the possibility of fatalities.
The chief said, 'hopefully, there will be no human remains' found in the clean-up operations.
Casper said it could take several days to sift through the ashes. The search for bodies was made more difficult because of the extreme heat of the fire, which would have 'literally shrunk bones' of any persons trapped inside, he said.
Otis J. Bloom, 38, of Millbrae, was held on $25,000 bail Sunday following his arrest Friday on felony arson charges in the fire that moved so quickly it took the city's entire firefighting force to control it.
The fire was believed to have started on the ground floor of the bathhouse known as the Folsom Street Barracks, which was being converted into a hotel.
Landlords in the area have given lists of residents to firefighters and the volunteer Folsom Fire Victim Committee, established to help those left homeless by the blaze. Investigators were also checking cars in the area to determine whether any of the owners were unaccounted for.