Massive Four-Alarm Fire Erupts On Pier 45 At San Francisco's Iconic Fisherman's Wharf

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
San Francisco Pier 45 fire
San Francisco Firefighters 798/Twitter, KPIX 5 CBS

The fire threatened many historic tourist areas on Pier 45

The iconic Pier 45 on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco burst into flames in the early morning hours Saturday. More than 125 San Francisco firefighters were called to battle the four-alarm warehouse fire to stop its spread to surrounding areas.

A quarter of the pier at Fisherman’s Wharf “has been lost to the flames,” according to the San Francisco Fire Department. Everyone was evacuated, and there are no reported injuries.

The San Francisco Fire Department has been tweeting live updates of the situation. They reported that the fire caused a partial building collapse on the southern part of the pier, spread to two buildings on the pier, and was in danger of spreading to a third.

Pier 45 is a working fishing pier showcasing World War II vessels and an antique arcade museum, among other historic attractions, and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

Firefighters successfully worked to keep the fire from the historic SS Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty ship, one of two remaining fully functioning Liberty ships launched during World War II. The situation “evolved rapidly” from a one-alarm fire to four alarms, Lt. Jonathan Baxter told KGO in an interview.

Flames could be seen in the early morning hours and multiple 911 calls came in at about 4:15 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters responded to a building not used for tourism on the rear end of Pier 45, directly behind Fisherman’s Grotto and Alioto’s Restaurant.

San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Baxter told KCBS Radio that part of a wall at a cement warehouse structure collapsed, but luckily no one was hurt. Firefighters were able to “reposition their rigs and continue fighting the fire.”

Javier Ruiz, who drives for Ohana Seafood, was at Fisherman’s Wharf to transport fresh fish. “The shed that was leveled houses some of the equipment for the seafood processing operations right there on Pier 45,” Ruiz said. “So it had some vehicles for distribution, some larger, some smaller.”

Most of the restaurants and historic areas were not damaged thanks to the quick work of firefighters. NBC Bay Area reports that fire officials suspect the blaze started inside the warehouse and that an investigation is ongoing.

Nearby Pier 39 — located a little more than half a mile from Pier 45 — is home to many festivities throughout the year such as Fleet Week, a Fourth of July fireworks display, holiday celebrations, and street performers. The pier is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas, filled with souvenir shops, shopping areas, stalls selling fresh seafood and clam chowder, with views of some of San Francisco’s most iconic places.

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