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SF Firefighters Extinguish Blaze at Pier 29

A four-alarm fire heavily damaged a vacant building on the San Francisco waterfront Wednesday afternoon. The building had been expected to house the staging area of operations for the America's Cup sailing race in 2013.

Bay City News—A four-alarm fire heavily damaged a vacant building at San Francisco's Pier 29 Wednesday afternoon.

The blaze was reported at about 1:50 p.m. at the two-story waterfront bulkhead building located at the intersection of The Embarcadero, Sansome and Chestnut streets. Firefighters responded to find "pretty spectacular flames" coming out of the roof in the front of the building, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said.

About 110 firefighters, including some on a fireboat in the Bay behind the building, battled the blaze, which was declared contained at 3:40 p.m. and under control as of 3:59 p.m., fire officials said. Firefighters were expected to remain at the building into the night to ensure that flames don't spark back up, a fire department spokesman said.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire has not been determined, although a preliminary investigation indicates that some construction workers may have been in the building at the time it started, Hayes-White said.

The building was initially built in 1915 and was expected to house the staging area of operations for the America's Cup sailing race in 2013, said Monique Moyer, executive director of the Port of San Francisco.

The building was mostly vacant except for five cars that were safely moved out of the building, Moyer said. She said it is too early to tell if plans for the America's Cup might have to be altered, but said "the Cup will go on just fine."

The fire prompted the closure of The Embarcadero for several blocks in each direction, as well as several nearby streets. Northbound lanes of The Embarcadero had flooded in front of the building due to the amount of water necessary to fight the blaze, some of which was taken from the Bay.

Dozens of onlookers watched firefighters battle the blaze from across the street.

Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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