UPDATED: 46 Displaced as Huge Blaze Guts Buildings on Mission Near 29th

A five-alarm fire broke out this afternoon at around 3 pm on the 3300 block of Mission Street, near 29th Street. Initial reports indicate the fire began in 3318 Mission, the building that houses the Playa Azul restaurant.

The blaze quickly spread to Cole Hardware next door, followed by several other buildings on the block. This was the view from San Jose, looking east down 29th toward Mission:


By 4:15 pm, the SFFD said the fire was not yet under control. No injuries are reported, but many Bernal neighbors who lived in the impacted buildings are now displaced.

Bernalwood will provide additional details on the fire, and efforts to assist our displaced neighbors, as more information becomes available.

UPDATE 5 pm: Mayor Lee is on the scene, coordinating efforts to find shelter for displaced Bernal neighbors:

5:50 pm: As firefighters continue working on the scene, the scope of the damage is becoming more clear. The Playa Azul and Cole Hardware buildings are gutted. The corner building that houses the 3300 Club shows clear burn marks on the back side.

Meanwhile, along with the mayor, the Red Cross is on the scene to assist displaced neighbors.


6:20 pm: The Salvation Army reports 46 people displaced by the fire. The Salvation Army community center at 1156 Valencia will house fire victims tonight.

9:08 pm: Bernalwood is in contact with the Salvation Army, where displaced residents will be sheltered tonight. The Salvation Army asks would-be donors to hold off on donating items until the exact needs of the victims are properly assessed.

The Salvation Army shelter is a very temporary solution; the challenge for tomorrow will be to establish more stable transitional housing for displaced neighbors.

Sadly, many won’t be going home soon. MissionLocal shared a photo of the scene from street level on Mission. Playa Azul and Cole Hardware were gutted by the fire. Taco Loco looks badly damaged, along with the residences above in the Graywood Hotel.

19 thoughts on “UPDATED: 46 Displaced as Huge Blaze Guts Buildings on Mission Near 29th

  1. Returning from lunch in Stinson Beach, we could see the billowing clouds of heavy black smoke over the city. What a shock to get home and find it was a block away from me. YIKES. I feel awful about the number of people displaced, jobs lost and the buildings damaged. Poor Cole Hardware–this is their second fire.

  2. We can house 2 people for 4 nights. Let us know. We have an airbnb with no guests at the moment. One double bed. No smokers and no pets . Let us know! Toby and Joe

  3. Very sad and scary. Glad there are no deaths or injuries reported yet, although I believe some cats are still missing. @Todd, keep us posted on how Bernal residents can help the victims and businesses.

  4. Power is now out to the block. I believe it is a safety measure as they inspect the inside of the buildings.

  5. I wanted to chime and share my concern for those impacted by the fire. It’s hard to think of the 46 people sleeping in shelter tonight. I’m not sure how many, but a portion of these people were living in an SRO, so were marginally housed, so this feels like an especially heart-breaking blow. In one of the interviews above, a woman helping her grandmother – this senior woman is one of the many faces of our marginally housed. I’m sure we all think with dismay of our grandparents, parents, on a Red Cross shelter cot. Toby and Joe, you are an example of neighbors that I am so proud to have. Thank you for your big hearts. Since B&B is participating (in the official Good Samaritan city program, which I know nothing about), you may wish to contact them so they know you’re willing to volunteer? Just a thought…

    Bernal Heights is a wonderful neighborhood, and I know we are ready to support our neighbors as we can. Even a few bucks goes a long way if enough of us do it. Just a quick word to the wise, donating stuff is so tempting, so immediate, but it can be problematic. I had no idea of the work that goes into Donations Management, until I had a professional opportunity to work on a donations plan to be used during emergencies. People with their most generous intentions have given so much in the face of past disasters, but it’s ended up costing the localities more than it helped as personnel have to work on receiving, sorting, distributing, etc., and much of it has ended up in storage b/c it doesn’t address the real needs of the victims. I know I won’t be alone as we look for a fund that is taking donations.

    And, I guess we all need to keep our eyes peeled for any lost/scared pets. The additional blow of losing a pet. Just too sad….

  6. Yes, I saw the issues with donating “stuff” during Hurricane Katrina. Tons, mountains of clothes and toiletries and toys but the people displaced have no where to put those things. They need safe shelter, cash, a suitcase, a paid phone plan and phone and sustained help to start rebuilding things like their own identity papers.

  7. Man, I really hope the 3300 Club is able to come back from this. One of my favorite bars in the city, hands down.

  8. Man, this is awful for the families in those places.

    And I sure will miss Cole Hardware – so convenient, and their customer service has always been so much better than Lowe’s. Can’t say I’m optimistic, but I hope they eventually reopen here.

  9. Wondering if the recent completion of the never-ending construction project above Playa Azul was the culprit. Faulty construction practices, out-of-code gas lines, something like that. That scaffolding just came down a couple weeks ago.

    Looking forward to hearing where we can donate money too help those affected.

    • Regarding fundraising for the displaced victims, here’s what I’d say to Bernal residents who want to contribute: Hold off for a few days before donating to a fund.

      The road ahead for the displaced residents is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s terrific that so many are eager to help, but based on past experience, I also know everyone’s capacity to help is limited. It may take a few days to organize a broad-based fund that will make sure every dollar you contribute goes as far as it can — say, through matching contributions from local companies, or the creation of a air-tight distribution system to allocate donations.

      Keep your wallets and checkbook warm, stay tuned for more details, and Bernalwood will keep you posted as relief efforts are established. The generosity and compassion of this community is one of our greatest strengths.

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  11. Reminds me of five alarm fire that burned down the bowling alley many years ago, Just up the street from this fire..

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