Man who died in Sunset blaze ‘was a hero’ 

San Francisco fire officials said a local man died a hero after he saved his mother from a blaze that tore through their Sunset district home early Monday morning.

As the fire raged, Sonny Tom reportedly lowered his mother out a front second-story window onto a parked car before firefighters arrived at the Sloat Boulevard home, officials said.

Sonny Tom, who was in his late 20s, was found dead on the living room floor, firefighters said.

"He was a hero. He saved his mom," firefighter David Tom, of Station 19, which responded to the blaze, told a distant family member at the scene.

Shortly after 3 a.m. Monday, San Francisco firefighters responded to a one-alarm fire at Bill and Ling Tom’s two-story home at 1954 Sloat Blvd. near 36th Avenue. It remains unknown what started the fire, but San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Alba-Swanson said it seemed accidental.

"It’s still under investigation, [but] that’s the way it’s leaning," she said, adding that arson has been ruled out.

David Tom, who is not related to the victims, said the fire came on fast, spreading throughout the three-bedroom home. "From the start of any fire, a room can be blazing in less than 120 seconds," he said.

Firefighters found Sonny Tom’s sister, Francis Tom, hanging from a window ledge at the back of the house. A truck crew rescued her with a ladder, Alba-Swanson said, but she sustained lacerations to her hands.

Her father, Bill Tom, sustained second- and third-degree burns on 23 percent of his body, as well as his lungs, Alba-Swanson said.

All three family members were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Bill Tom underwent surgery and remained in critical condition Monday.

Linda Allen, whose brother is related to the Toms through marriage, said the Toms have lived in the Sloat Boulevard house since the 1970s.

By mid-morning, a 3-foot-high pile of the family’s clothes, furniture and appliances blocked the sidewalk in front of the house. A fire clean-up worker described the inside as "completely gone."

Alba-Swanson said the damages are estimated at $270,000.

In a separate incident Monday, four adults and one child were displaced after a two-alarm fire ripped through a building at 5269 Third St. that houses the 49er Jazz Club.

The club and two adjacent buildings sustained about $400,000 in damages, officials said, but no one was injured.

arocha@examiner.com

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