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Thursday, May 5, 2011

SOMA Fire: Bourbon-on-BBQ Origin 'Just a Rumor'

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge Barbecue to go? - JAKE SWEARINGEN
  • Jake Swearingen
  • Barbecue to go?

Rumors are swirling on the Internet that yesterday's blaze at the Park Hotel in SOMA was sparked by the moronic one-two punch of barbecuing indoors -- and pouring bourbon onto the coals.

That may be, but the San Francisco Fire Department has yet to find any material evidence of alcohol-fueled indoor barbecuing.

"Right now, that's just a rumor," says Mindy Talmadge, the department's spokeswoman. "The investigator has not been able to substantiate any of that. Of course, as they continue the investigation, they'll look into that further."

What has been substantiated is this:

Yesterday's inferno displaced 72 people -- that's the number who have registered with the Red Cross. The damages to the hotel at 1040 Folsom are estimated at $2.5 million. A building behind it sustained $1 million in damage. Water damage to the buildings alongside the hotel has been tallied at $30,000 and $5,000 respectively.

It is believed the fire started on the ground floor of the hotel -- though, again, it is unclear how. The hotel's alarm and sprinkler systems functioned properly, but could not save the structure, which is essentially totaled. A pair of firefighters were hospitalized yesterday; both have checked out. Talmadge is unsure of the condition of a civilian who was hospitalized as well.

The spokeswoman described the department's work on the six-unit apartment building behind the doomed hotel as "a huge save. ... The crews did a great job saving that building."

They deserve a toast -- but not with bourbon. And not over a barbecue. And not indoors.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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