A four-alarm fire that caused $2.4 million in damage to San Francisco’s Pier 29 last month was apparently caused by welders doing work in the building, a Fire Department spokeswoman said Monday.
The fire was reported about 1:50 p.m. June 20 at the two-story waterfront building at the intersection of The Embarcadero and Sansome and Chestnut streets.
The building was vacant, but construction crews were there to prepare it for next year’s America’s Cup sailing race. They apparently inadvertently started the blaze while doing some welding, Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.
“The wood on the building underneath the concrete was really dry; it was like a tinderbox in there,” Talmadge said.
Crews were welding a ladder to a wall near a crack in the concrete and “a spark got in there,” setting the building ablaze, she said.
Firefighters responded and spent more than two hours battling the flames. No one was injured in the blaze.
The last time the Port of San Francisco experienced a massive fire was in 1996, when a five-alarm blaze ravaged Pier 48. There also were no injuries in that fire.
The building is slated to house the operations staging area for the America’s Cup regatta. The fire was not expected to affect construction work related to the race, both the Port and America’s Cup spokeswoman Amelise Javier said at the time.
Pier 29 also is the site of the new cruise ship terminal expected to be completed by 2014.