Gene and Leslie Clements’ home was spared by what they called the "quick work" of the Fire Department when a fire that burned a neighboring three-story building in San Francisco’s North of Panhandle neighborhood reached a second alarm Saturday afternoon.
Gene was at the back of his house at 1342 Hayes St. when he smelled smoke. Leslie went to the back porch to have a look and saw flames licking the rear of the home next door.
"I ran in the house and yelled, ‘It’s not a barbecue, it’s a fire,’" Leslie said.
By the time she dialed 911 and reached a dispatcher, trucks were already on their way, she said.
"Gene was out there hosing it down with the water hose," Leslie said.
More than 60 firefighters responded when the first alarm went off at 5:24 p.m. for the apartment fire. A second alarm was called at 5:30 p.m.
Gene said smoke started billowing out of his neighbor’s home. Neighbors said a man has evidently owned the building for more than 30 years, but does not live in the residence.
Fire Department officials said the fire was under control by 6 p.m. Six adults were displaced from four units on two floors of the building, officials said. There was considerable damage to the rear of the building and moderate damage in the front.
"It pretty much destroyed the back of the house," Gene said.
Fire officials said no residents or firefighters were injured.
"I’d say another 15 minutes and both our houses would have been in trouble," he said.
Bay City News contributed to this report.