Dozens of clients of a San Francisco community health organization were displaced this afternoon when a two-alarm fire damaged their home in The City's Tenderloin neighborhood.
The fire was reported at about 12:20 p.m. at the Kinney Hotel, a four-story, single-room occupancy hotel at 410 Eddy St., San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.
Talmadge said it appears the fire started near a light well on the second floor and burned behind the metal sheeting that lines the light well, spreading through the walls to the third and fourth floors.
Firefighters contained the blaze quickly and had it under control by 12:45 p.m.
To stop the spread of flames, firefighters had to remove the metal lining from the light well, Talmadge said.
"They had to open up all the walls from the second floor up," she said.
There was also "quite a bit" of water damage to the building, she said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
No injuries were reported, and Talmadge said the American Red Cross has been called to assist the fire victims.
The nonprofit Tenderloin Health holds the lease on the Kinney Hotel, and about 40 to 45 of its clients live there, executive director David Fernandez said.
The nonprofit works with homeless, poor, and vulnerable people in the Tenderloin, according to its website.
Nate Cullen, 27, who lives on the fourth floor of the building, said he heard the fire alarm and thought it was a false alarm until firefighters arrived and rushed him out of the building.
Another resident, Eric Draper, 42, was sleeping in his room on the first floor and awoke to the sounds of people shouting and alarms going off.
He watched from across the street as the firefighters put away their equipment, and planned to head to a Red Cross station that had been set up nearby.
No one had told him when he would be able to return or if they would find him new housing, but Draper said he was sad to walk away from the Kinney Hotel, where they gave the residents food and coffee in the mornings.
"It was a nice place," he said.