Fire That Broke Out at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf Contained

Firefighters battled a four-alarm warehouse fire at Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco that broke out Saturday morning, the San Francisco Fire Department said. The blaze has now been contained, and there was one injury to a firefighter who was later treated and released.


— San Francisco Firefighters 798 (@SFFFLocal798) May 23, 2020

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty, a historic World War II ship threatened by the fire, was saved from the flames, the San Francisco Fire Department said.

Some 100 firefighters were working at the scene, according to KCBS.

Half of the pier was lost to the fire, the SFFD said. The warehouse where the fire broke out was a "total loss", KGO-TV reported.

Videos from the scene showed the enormous fire near the waterfront, smoke billowing from the flames. Satellite imagery from the National Weather Service showed that smoke from the fire could be seen from space.

The cause of the fire, which reportedly started around 4:30 a.m., local time, remained unclear.

Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter told Newsweek that the fire had been contained and would be investigated when investigators can enter the building. "The fire is under control. There's one firefighter that was injured, treated at a local hospital and released home. The fire will be under investigation once it's safe for investigators to get into the actual building. Investigators were on-site as of 4:30 in the morning, interviewing bystanders and checking surveillance cameras, etc, and they'll continue with that effort going forward.

"The iconic Jeremiah O'Brien was saved by fireboat number three, the St. Francis fireboat. It was dedicated to that protection's detail. The square footage we do not have for the building at this moment, but is the equivalent to the size of a football field," Baxter continued.

Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf is a historic attraction in San Francisco and home to the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty and the USS Pampanito, both fully functional ships from World War II.

The National Weather Service said smokey conditions would remain in the area due to the fire.

Heat from a large fire at Pier 45 in San Francisco can be seen (black squares) in satellite imagery taken from space early Saturday morning.

— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) May 23, 2020

On Saturday afternoon, the San Francisco Fire Department had tweeted a link to a Citizen app account that said the fire was contained, but 75 firefighters would remain on the scene to make sure that it is entirely out.

UPDATE Four-Alarm Warehouse Fire on Pier 45 (North Waterfront, San Francisco) 📲 Live on @CitizenAppSFO


Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District Team deputy director and marketing and communications director, Laura Schaefer, told Newsweek Saturday afternoon that while there has been a loss of business due to the fire, the community benefit district team is grateful for the work of first responders.

"We are so incredibly thankful for the hard work that both SFFD, the fire department, and SFPD, the police department, have done in our district. They were able to save the Jeremiah O'Brien, which is one of the oldest surviving World War II Liberty ships that was docked at Pier 45. It's important to note that there was loss of businesses at shed C, which is the edifice that was burned down. Obviously as a community, we're deeply concerned about their losses. We're incredibly relieved and appreciative that we did not have any deaths.

"There was 150 firefighters and 50 fire trucks along with other equipment that was used to combat this unbelievable blaze.

"As a community, we're a very large district. We're 30 square blocks, about 300 businesses all along the waterfront and basically from Pier 39 to Ghirardelli Square, it's an incredibly tight-knit community," Schaefer said. "Right now, our thoughts are thankful that loss of life and injury mostly was avoided, [and] thanking the incredible work of our emergency responders here in San Francisco. As a city, I just think they've done a phenomenal job, and looking towards rebuilding in the future."

Updated 6:44 p.m. ET, with a comment from the San Francisco Fire Department. Additional reporting by James Crowley.

Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco - Fisherman's wharf and North Beach (stock photo) canbalci/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty

Update: 6:36 p.m. EST-This story has been updated to include comment from Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter.