Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Catherine Stefani Provide Update on City Response to Fire on Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue
City is conducting outreach to affected residents to connect them with housing opportunities and services; Office of Economic and Workforce Development offering aid to affected businesses
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Supervisor Catherine Stefani, and City departments today provided an update on yesterday’s gas line fire at Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue.
No one was injured as a result of the fire and recovery efforts are underway. Residents in up to seven residential units have been displaced and the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) has red-tagged one mixed-use building and yellow-tagged two others. A fourth building that appears to be vacant may have sustained water damage and DBI has reached out to the building owner to gain access.
Residents of the yellow-tagged buildings have been able to enter to retrieve belongings, though the buildings are not currently inhabitable. DBI will expedite all reviews and permit issuances needed to make repairs to the affected buildings in order to allow the residents to re-occupy their homes. The Department of Emergency Management (DEM), San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA), Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), and Red Cross are working with impacted residents and businesses to provide support.
“Thankfully no one was hurt as a result of this fire and our focus remains helping the people affected get back on their feet and connected with housing and services. I am working with our City departments to make sure that we provide every available resource at our disposal,” said Mayor Breed. “I want to thank our first responders for their quick action yesterday to contain the fire and prevent the loss of life, and the City agencies that are continuing to provide support during this recovery.”
“I commend our first responders who contained the fire and prevented further damage to the surrounding community,” said Supervisor Stefani. “Miraculously, no one was injured despite the severity of the fire. My first priority is to help those who have been affected by the fire, and my office is available to help connect people with housing and services. I will also work with City departments to determine what exactly caused this gas explosion so we can prevent future emergency situations.”
The Fire Response team from San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) stands ready to provide assistance to residents unable to safely return to their homes. Persons in rent-controlled units may be eligible for a monthly rent subsidy that pays the difference between the rent at the tenant’s permanent residence and a comparable unit leased at the current market rate. Tenants of rent-controlled units damaged by an emergency such as fires have the right to return after repairs are completed. If the fire-damaged unit or home is not rent-controlled, tenants may be eligible for a subsidy to cover moving expenses to a new unit.
“We are here for the people who have been displaced and facing hardship because of this fire,” stated Trent Rhorer, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Services Agency. “People who have been affected by the fire are encouraged to take advantage of our City assistance programs, such as those that help renters find replacement housing while their homes are being repaired. Our hearts go out to these families.”
Red Cross volunteers responded to yesterday’s gas line fire in San Francisco with an Emergency Response Vehicle to provide water and food to first responders and evacuated residents at Mel’s Diner. An overnight shelter was opened at Saint Mary's Cathedral at 1111 Gough Street in case any displaced individuals or those without gas and/or power needed sheltering. No residents chose to use the shelter, though that is not uncommon following disasters as impacted residents often choose to stay with family or friends.
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development has been working with businesses and a non-profit organization affected by the fire. While many businesses may receive insurance proceeds or have the ability to access a traditional or disaster loan, the delay in receiving these funds can take weeks or months. To help bridge this gap, the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund is available to impacted small businesses. These businesses can apply and access up to $10,000 for inventory replacement, equipment purchases, security deposits for a new lease, employee salaries, or other expenses to stabilize cash flow.
“Our team has been on the ground working directly with impacted businesses to understand their immediate needs and connect employees to workforce services,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Now, at the direction of Mayor Breed, the Small Business Disaster Relief fund will provide these small businesses with the immediate capital they need to begin recovery and ensure their employees are supported by these and other resources.”
Additionally, Workforce Services are deployed through OEWD’s rapid response team to provide displaced workers consultation on unemployment insurance, healthcare, and job transition services such as job counseling, training opportunities, and job placement assistance.
Impacts on San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency operations are minimal. Westbound 38 and 38-R Geary buses are being rerouted around the block of the impacted area. SFMTA will provide updates as they happen on service impacts.
Residents displaced by the fire should call the Red Cross at 415-427-8010 to register for services and assistance. Businesses and their employees should call the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development at 415-554-6969. Recovery info can be found at www.sf72.org.