FRONTIERS - February 24, 2000


by Alex MacDonald

The Fallon Building at 1800 Market St. was the site of a one-alarm blaze just before dawn February 10. Fortunately, the Victorian that will form the nucleus of the Community Center Project (CCP) suffered only minor damage. Lt. Ed Campbell of the San Francisco Fire Department said flames from wooden pallets and loaded shopping carts did slight damage to an exterior wall of the Market Street side of the building. Campbell also said the SFFD sees no connection between this fire and the suspected arson of the Bahia nightclub further down Market. And there was no indication that the fire was deliberate.

Although no witnesses to the fire have come forward, Jeanne Adams, a waitress at the It's Tops Coffee Shop across the street, told SF Frontiers that she often sees people who do not look like workers around the abandoned building. "With housing as tight as it is," she added, "there are really no empty buildings in San Francisco. People find a way in and squat."

The nearby freeway overpass attracts the homeless seeking shelter from inclement weather. A brightly colored tarpaulin draped over scaffolding on the Market side of the building also provides shelter and a modicum of privacy. The fire started behind the flag and exterior wall.

Supervisor Mark Leno, who has taken an active role in shepherding the center through the City's tortuous political process, told SF Frontiers that security at the building will be beefed up. No dollar estimate of the damage to the building has been made.

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