More than 150 firefighters battled a five-alarm fire in San Francisco's Mission District on Saturday. Photo courtesy San Francisco Fire Department
SAN FRANCISCO, June 19 (UPI) -- Twenty San Francisco residents spent the night at a shelter after a five-alarm fire burned six buildings in a five-block area Saturday afternoon.
Originally, 43 people were evacuated from the fire that started at 2:30 p.m. in the city's Mission District. The blaze was contained by 6:27 p.m., fire officials said. More than 150 firefighters battled the fire with more than 40 pieces of apparatus.
The Salvation Army, working with the Red Cross and city, set up a shelter at one of its buildings nearby.
"While the Human Services Agency works to identify housing options for those displaced, The Salvation Army will continue to provide both shelter and a place of respite for the individuals affected by this tragedy," the Salvation Army said on its website.
Two people outside the buildings were treated for minor smoke inhalation, officials said.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire. The back of the Graywood Hotel was destroyed.
Joe Williams was among those in the building who were previously homeless and were referred to the building by social service agencies. He lived there for about a year with his wife and 1-year-old son.
Williams, who lived on the second floor, said he checked out the hallway after his wife thought she smelled burning barbecue. Near the top of the stairs, he checked the fuse box.
"I opened the fuse box, and smoke just poured out," he told SFGate.com. "I ran to get the fire extinguisher, but it was already too late."
Manager Brian Mitchell of nearby Mitchell's Ice Cream told KRCA-TV he saw the fire burning apartments above the 3300 Club bar.