Meteor responsible for epic Western Addition fire?

Reader Geoff G. submitted these photos via our Facebook wall. He explains:

My co-worker noticed a streak in the sky heading towards the ground. Then the fire.

Holy moly. SFist is covering the fire, but so far there’s no official word on the cause:

12:39: All streets in the immediate area are closed. The public is being asked to stay away from the Western Addition/NOPA/Alamo Square area for now.

12:40: A fifth alarm has now been called. This fire is completely out of control. Building is being described as “very old” by Captain Denis O’Leary. A Shelter-in-place has been declared.

Read on.

UPDATE: SFist has details on how to help victims of the fire (as well as photos of the fire’s aftermath) here.

92 Responses to “Meteor responsible for epic Western Addition fire?”

  1. Old Mission Neighbor says:

    definitely looks like something fell down there

  2. sixtypercenttogether says:

    wait, what??!?!

  3. Tuffy says:

    I initially thought that this was a reference to the reflection of the fluorescent lights in the window but if you look at the top picture you can see a trail leading from the top left corner down to where the smoke is rising in the second photo.

    • jules says:

      ahh right – thanks for clearing that up, because i was abotu to post what a dumb ass someone was for getting worked up about reflections of strip lights in the window!

  4. Jesse Mullan says:

    I think that the adjective you are looking for is “horrific” and not “epic.” :(

  5. Rhiannon says:

    Can your coworker get me in to see the view from US Bank or wherever it is that he works during Fleet Week or any of the fireworks holidays? The view looks killer.

  6. OP says:

    Hate to spoil the fun but I saw it as a jet contrail from my rooftop near Buena Vista Park.

  7. OP says:

    Besides Pierce is definitely to the left of the endpoint of the contrail in that picture. Pierce ‘pierces’ Alamo Square through the middle, which is the high point of the hill near Ida B. Wells School.

  8. DD says:

    How is it that your friend happened to catch that on camera? Seems awfully odd…

    • Geof says:

      He thought it was a weird looking trail. apparently it fluttered at the end and had black smoke coming from both sides of it? I was right there, but I didn’t hear him talking about it. I don’t know if it’s necessarily causal, but just forwarding the information.

  9. kenny says:

    Oh God what did Mythbusters do NOW?

  10. new says:

    thats the shadow from a contrail. not a meteor. stop it.

  11. Michael says:

    Photoshopped. Makes no sense on exposure time (would have to be extremely fast shutter, so a high-end camera set up and clicking maddly) plus the “He thought it was a weird looking trail.” Would mean there was some time for a whole slow-mo “Oh, hey, THAT looks weird now that I’m looking at this slow moving thing coming from the sky, guess I should get this camera out, set it up and point it over there where it looks like it will land and set it at shutter priority to 1/2500 of a second and fire tons of shots.” Snooze.

    • Geof says:

      It is definitely not a photoshop idiot. We’re working he took the picture I sent it to myself directly from his phone (HTC thunderbolt if you want to pretend you know so much about cameras)

  12. raman says:

    such “news” stories and websites should be banned for this kind of content. this is not something to joke about.

  13. Snackpacket says:

    I was going up Divisadero around 11:30 (I think, didn’t look at the clock) and there was a very strong airplane contrail at that angle. In fact, I was stopped at a light at the corner of McAllister and Divis, and a guy was taking a picture with his phone of the contrail with the smoke from the fire blowing under it–very arty contrasts.

  14. TC says:

    technically guys, that’s a meteorite.

  15. Jeff says:

    The dark line is the shadow of the high-altitude contrail. The sun happens to be in just the right angle so that the photographer is looking down the length of the shadow, which makes it quite dark from his perspective. I saw a phenomenon exactly like this in Utah during a trip there this summer.

  16. I’m pretty sure that Allan is well aware that he’s talking shit for the fun of it, folks. Not so sure about Geoff G., ’cause I don’t use Facebook. Anyway, it’s the contrail of a jet coming from someplace north, and going someplace south. Game over.

  17. curehead says:

    You yanks are all fucking insane…

  18. Schuyler says:

    I live two blocks from the fire. I heard no explosion. I did see a twin-engine contrail at the same time as I noticed the smoke from the fire, though.

    • AttF says:

      I live a block away and definitely heard the explosion along with several neighbors who I spoke with (including one who lived across the street and had his whole building shake because of it). It sounded similar to a large truck running over metal. The fire itself was really brutal and the smoke was so thick it actually blocked out the sky for a bit. It was almost under control several times before restarting a spreading next door. Truly awful stuff for anyone directly impacted.

    • Quin2013 says:

      Maybe it was an engine from the plane, like Donnie Darko!

  19. Quin2013 says:

    OMG!! This is a few blocks down the street from where I live!!!

  20. i was in the presidio when the plane that left that CHEMTRAIL flew over head. i was also dumbfounded by that weird ‘shadow’. the trail had stopped completely, but that grey shadow continued where it left off (at least 50 miles from here). this was about 15 minutes before the fire broke out. i just so happened to be on golden gate ave when it did. i started seeing the smoke in my rear view.

  21. ps why does everyone keep writing “contrail”? dont you know what a fucking contrail is?

  22. Travis says:

    Captain Dennis O’Leary?

  23. Emerald says:

    Looks like a landlord’s rocket launcher

  24. wide awake says:

    christklippel, you’re right.
    it’s a chemtrail.

    most people are either ignorant of even knowing what chemtrails are, or in denial about them.

    glad to see there’s at least one other person who reads this site who understands the truth!

    the same sadistic elected officials who voted in MARTIAL LAW for AMERICAN CITIZENS (via the NDAA 2012 Indefinite Detention Act are the same ones who have authorized and/or turned a blind eye to this poisonous chemtrail spraying that’s been going on in our skies, raining down on the people, unchecked.

    Enough is enough!
    Try them all for TREASON…they’ve violated their oath of office!
    VOTE RON PAUL 2012!

  25. Warren says:




  26. phoenix says:

    What about the guy on the corner with the umbrella? Anyone on the Grassy Knoll (Alamo Sq) can’t be accounted for? Was there a second meteorite?

  27. Faker says:

    I know someone in the office building that photo was taken from on mission. I saw the same fire about two months ago, and wouldn’t be surprised if that is the fire I saw in the Western Addition from the fourth floor. Meteor?

  28. PC says:

    People buy and sell meteorite pieces on eBay and other sites. They’re not as rare as Gizz makes them sound. The metal/crystal and rocky/crystal meteorites are sectioned and polished and are amazing to see. Truly otherworldly. The cynics may be right, but a hit on a gas line could explain the ferocity of this fire

  29. batman says:

    sadly the truth is me and superman had a ‘frank miller’ style fight over who should arrest the dancing crack whore.. shot for a out of hand.. kryptonite and themite was thrown around… batman is sorry guys…

  30. Wake up and smell the MORGELLONS, ‘folks’!

    That “chem-trail” sure sounds uncannily like a Morgellon Spindle-Arc Delivery System! So if FACTS are any indication, those people are LUCKY the place burned to the ground!

    Educate, ‘folks’!

  31. blake says:

    bogus… I was there 5 minutes after the fire started, and I watched the plane responsible for this contrail flying northbound as the fire grew. damn you mission kids are gullible

  32. Wesley says:

    Not a meteor is my opinion, instead a contrail from a passenger jet at high altitude. If it was a meteor I would suppose it to have a short bright trail. And the larger it was the greater the impact sound boom.

  33. Sarcasshole says:

    . . .then the building was all like ‘I used to be in Western Addition like you, then I took a meteor to the knee.’

  34. 4degreeflood says:

    Think for yourself.

  35. Klaas says:

    Am I the only one that realises this is just a mere reflection in the window of a light ?

    Come on…

  36. Travis says:


  37. Travis says:

    I used to care about photoshop…

    Dr. Pepper Hats Cheap!

  38. scum says:

    MM is a front for taggers, Cranky is a happy 30 year old, Herr Docktor is a bald nurse and Mr. Eric is really Ms. Erica.

  39. BADWOLF says:

    First on the note of contrails and chemtrails. A cotrail is formed by the condensation of moisture on the wingtips of planes flying at high altitudes forming into crystals and creating a vapor trail behind the plane as they thaw, leaving a thin vapor trail behind them. A chemtrail is formed by chemicals icluding but not limited to mercury and ddt emited from the rear of planes as they fly overhead as a form of mass population controle or to poison the populus of the world for reasons uknown. they form a line of vapor that expands into a wide bilowing trail and dissapate unlike contrails that stay thin and dissapear. now im not saying that chemtrails are real but i wont deny them either for i personaly dont have proof as to the validity of either claim of their reality or denial of it . however i do know enough as to say that contrails do look the way they do and that science dictates that they dont look like the other kind that we have all seen. keep your mind open and dont deny something as a simple conspiracy theory untill you with your own reaserch prove beyond all doubt the validity or lack there of to any theory. otherwise you are just as iggnorat as the people who make things up just to get a rise out of others. and i personaly know a few bricks smarter than that.lolz

    • Nombre Hombre says:

      P.S. – You’re the only other person I’ve seen/hear use the phrase “OCCUPY YOUR MIND”, other than myself, from within my own mind. You may well indeed be an intelligent one. I’m a geek too! Occupy Mind + Read Bucky + Think Independently!

      • Nate says:

        Nombre, we met Sunday morning (I hacked the microwave to warm Gauss’ tumors)
        I’d love it if you were to contact me my email address is “gaussdog” at
        yaaaaawhoooo ( u know what I mean)

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      The main difference between Contrails and Chemtrails is that Chemtrails don’t exist outside the paranoid fantasies of lunatics.

    • vatrat says:

      there are no “chemtrails”.

  40. BADWOLF says:

    please pardon the spelling errors in my last post. I’m a scientist not an English major, and I forgot spellchecker.

  41. BADWOLF says:

    So none of you can provide a more intelligent counter to my statement than an unsupported denial of the existence of chemtrails? Wow, I stand corrected they must not exist. See all the (lack of) evidence refuting the existence of them? If you barely formed troglodytes are going to respond to the contrary of them please site YOUR personal research PROVING there nonexistence. rather than just saying they don’t. I still maintain that I neither believe nor disbelieve their existence since I have not done enough research to either prove nor disprove them. #OCCUPYANINTELIGENCEQUOTANTHIGHERTHANTHATOFADISHTOWEL

  42. Nate says:

    I’m no expert, but the angle isn’t that of an airplanes trajectory!

  43. Turist in san jose says:

    I was visiting my sister in law in San Jose, Dec. 23,2011, around 4 or 5pm maybe? We saw somthing very large falling fron the sky, it had a roundish but irregular form and trail of debri behind it, looked gray with some darker spots.

    It was not ballon, not a plane or a falling star, and its looked big, really high up, no idea what it was, space station. Satelite. Dont know, by the way im not a troll, was searching for info on that date and found this post.

  44. Nombre Hombre says:

    Badwolf, what an ungracious way to simply say “Thank You”, like someone with an intelligenct qutient higher than that of a dishtowel. Sounds to me like a little heart & social intelligence could do you some good. Acting crazy, spiteful, raged out, and lacking of control of your emotions, is no way to gain concensus, despite the efficiency of your CPU. I’m a genius too, and way less of an asshole (Asperger’s takes conscious control, + dietary & behavior modification). At least say Thanks and walk it off when you have a minute. Social graces will open more doors than being right, even if you always are. Be Well! 3~*

    The fact that we are even discoursing this, means we’re almost all aliens & endangered species alike. Let’s just be friends!

  45. Chemtrails! says:

    I’m sorry but that is just a chemtrail!

    But no really, it is the shadow from the reflection of the sun bouncing off the earth back up to the man made cloud left behind from an airplane.