More scenes from the Capp St. fire

The fire seems to have started in this building, 765 Capp. You can see several hoses running through the front door, into one of the apartments.

Ladders to neighboring roofs.

A firefighter descends from the roof of a building on 23rd between South Van Ness and Capp. You can see what looks like a charred back patio in the background, so it appears that the fire traveled through the backyards to the houses on 23rd.

A firefighter getting his tank replaced by his firefighting pit crew before going back in.

Trucks lined up on 23rd. There were about 15 fire engines in total lined up on the streets surrounding the building.

A little kid jumps over the three foot stream running down the curb on South Van Ness.

Christmas decorations.

Firefighters hanging out on 23rd and Capp. I didn’t see any ambulances, but dozens of people were evacuated and there was some talk of a missing cat. Stay safe out there guys.

30 Responses to “More scenes from the Capp St. fire”

  1. Michael Andrade says:

    I ran outside to my backyard and got video as the fire burned:

  2. Lillian says:

    What’s up with houses on that street being prone to fires?

    • Jon says:

      That street and many others.

      Wood construction. Aging electrical systems. Poor maintenance. High density.

      • Dale says:

        Those windows scream “rent control”.
        If the owner was able to charge “fair market value” he could afford upgrades.
        This is why rent control is fairly charged with “ghetto-izing” neighborhoods.
        Any economist will tell you so. It is bad public policy for landlords to pay for failed public policy.

        • Lillian says:

          Stop trying to push your politics, I don’t stand by them. People of different economic backgrounds brings variety and character into the city. I love this neighborhood because of how diverse it is in many aspects, that one included. Removing rent control means kicking out many creative artists, musicians, valuable service employees, social workers, and other hard working people of many varieties.

          Something tells me you probably don’t care about that though. How much does it really cost to maintain a property? Rent control in the city is at a pretty fair rate from what I’ve seen.

        • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

          You’re full of shit, Dale.

          • Dale says:

            Neither of you know what you are talking about. Those windows are more than $300 each PLUS installation. Get out of your parasitic mentality, work for something besides tattoos and being a poser.
            No, i dont care about your politics, i believe in the politics of the hardworking landlord that bouoght and owns the building.

            Think “Personal Responsibility”

            Gentrification NOW!

            Your statement…
            “Rent control in the city is at a pretty fair rate from what I’ve seen.”
            makes no sense and shows your level of education, yet you think you should be able to have a say in city policy.


          • Dale says:

            Also, figuring neither of you got your GED, i count 19 windows for about $6000. Again, not including installation which might be another $6000. If the landlord returned the windows to the original curved (“round tops”) they would be more $$.
            Try working for something besides what you can get for free from people that dont have drug or alchohol problems or criminal records.

          • Schlub says:

            Actually, Dale’s numbers are low. Getting permitted or even un-permitted (quality) contract labor work done in SF is extremely expensive. And Dale’s numbers don’t include electrical upgrading, a whole other chunk of dough.

            Rent control law wants to have it’s cake and eat it too. It just doesn’t pan out – properties remain in severe low maintenance condition, and thus prone to fire, leaking etc. because the renters don’t want to help shoulder the very real costs of maintaining an older building.

            Not meaning to make it a political thing; it’s just reality.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • moto-waki says:

            dale, you are as presumptuous as you are elitist & callous. not all landlords are conscientious about their property, rent controlled or otherwise.
            your comments might be better received on the blog “marina marina”.

        • Dale says:

          Case in point…
          An article written by Herr Doktor asking for single payer health insurance to pay for a cure for his baldness.

          Try using next months trust fund check for something you dont piss away.

          • Dale says:

            Thanx Schlub
            i thought if i quoted true numbers no one would believe me.
            Can you believe lillian said “How much does it really cost to maintain a property?”
            She undoubtably has never owned a business (or will) but thinks employees, clients, taxes, paperwork, licences, etc are easy too. And that they are overpaid and she is underpaid.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            You seem to have trouble with either reading comprehension, as illustrated by your seeming lack of ability to understand who wrote a blog post, or possibly just a lack of whatever part of the human brain recognizes satirical responses to the aforementioned blog post. I’m not really sure which, but based on your fundamental misunderstanding of the economics of rent control, I guess any other fundamental misunderstandings on your part probably shouldn’t be too shocking.

          • Lillian says:

            The reason I chimed in to begin with, was that I found it extremely fucked up that you would use a house fire as an opportunity to talk about politics that affect you. Seriously? People are out of their homes, they lost everything they own (not just a fucking smart phone). And you use that as an opportunity to get political? Think about that for a second.

            But I’ll keep going with this debate anways, asshole. Okay, so say all the numbers that have been provided are correct, I’m going to give an example of a friend who does live in a rent controlled apartment. This particular building has 4 separate units. I’ve only seen one unit, and the inside of the kitchen in another, but I’m going to assume the layouts in each are pretty similar based on the number of tenants in each, etc. The unit I’ve seen has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. The total cost of rent excluding utilities is $1850. With three other units in this building the total rent would add up to around ~$5400 a month. You mentioned windows needing repair referring to the busted windows from the pictures above. I’d figure that those had something to do with the fire, and not windows that were just left like that. But say a window on a building like the one I mentioned my friend living in, ended up busting. If the landlord of that building was truly taking care of their property, you’d think they’d be responsible enough to have the money aside to fix any problems that might occur. On top of that it would makes sense for them to also have money put aside for maintaining things like electricial, plumbing, etc. After putting money aside for those things each month regardless of whether there is a current problem or not, they should still have a decent chunk for profit. Then looking at the amount of time it would takes to check up on a single building you own and making sure everything is right, the landlord would likely have time to work a full time job, or have time to work on more properties. And if something major were to happen, aren’t there loans you can take out or insurance plans that you can pay into to cover these costs? You talk about hard work, but why is it that when the toilet at my friend’s place is having problems, the landlord ignores the problem, leaving the tenants to have to fix it themselves? Is it that they already spent the money they should be using to maintain their property on a fancy dinner on Valencia St?

            These were just the numbers and ideas that were floating around in my head when I said that prices seem fair. Granted, yeah I’ve never owned a rental property in my life, and have no experience in doing that, and never will either, so I could be completely wrong by all means. I have aspirations that aren’t business or money. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t have a problem with those who earn a lot of money, and I don’t doubt that they worked hard to get where they are. However, for some reason or another, you don’t feel the same towards lower income folk. Do you really just think the very people who serve you your food, or work the register at your local hardware store, or even the people who make the music you might love to listen to while at a local bar, or the art you might see in your favorite cafe in town are just society leeches who aren’t working for something beyond what they currently have. What about folks social workers, people who work to help people who need help in life. They work to help those who might not have been as privileged in life have the equal opportunity to possibly have a future as a property owner. They do this kind of work for very little payment. You want to deny these saints from affordable housing?

            If affordable rent didn’t exist artists like Carlos Santana might not have been able to make it out of The Mission and into world class fame. Instead they’d be stuck busking outside, making nothing but hippie change. People have dreams that go beyond wealth and fortune, and sometimes that means giving up certain luxuries for a bit and living life like a Gypsy in order to invest in a more valuable future.

            Instead of worrying about maximizing profits, maybe have some fucking compassion dude. The world could use more of it, especially from slumlords like yourself.

          • B Wahlberg says:

            Whoa Lillian, Sounds like you need to either “up”, or discontinue your meds. Its not like you are paying for them anyways. Maybe consider some anger management classes too. Before they are court ordered.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Well said, Lillian, Well said.

          • Schlub says:

            I appreciate Lillian’s pov, I really do. The situation here in SF sucks in this regard. And yes, it indeed is really sad that these folks have now been displaced due the complications of the systems at work here in SF.

            But using Lillian’s numbers, one quickly sees that $5400 a month is not enough money to properly maintain or improve said building here in SF, let alone gain much if any profit. The monthly mortgage on the building alone is likely to be close to that; higher on more recently purchased buildings, lower on buildings that have been owned for a while. Once you add property taxes, insurance and baseline maintenance costs, profits on such ventures aren’t what many renters assume.

            Saving large chunks of money for delayed maintenance on big old buildings isn’t at all easy to do. Fixing seemingly simple issues like new windows can open up giant cans of worms like dry rot and failed electrical. In recent years, getting extra loans for such maintenance has come to a standstill because of resistant banks. Owners who are able to get extra loans are then saddled with new additional monthly loan payments, which put pressure on tenants to pay higher rent.

            Many long-standing landlords right now are selling off their failing buildings because the values have gone up so much. The new buyers are people with deep pockets who can sidestep loan issues. With these extremely high purchase prices come new extremely high rents so to cover the monthly payments. It’s happening across the city and notably in the Mission.

            I’m not a landlord, and wouldn’t want to be. But I do struggle and work very hard every month to make the payments and maintain the property that I’ve been fortunate to purchase here many years ago.

          • Troy says:

            (In response to Schlub) The extremely high purchase prices imply that the new owners will not be in the rental business. No one invests that kind of money to effectively subsidize long term, rent controlled tenants.

            Supply goes down, rents go up.

          • GG says:

            Hi Dale,

            If you’re going to resort to obnoxious, poorly-thought-out attacks on other people’s IQ/means/education — rather than making the effort to actually formulate a rational and well-reasoned argument — I am glad to let you know that I am more highly-educated than you are, make more money, have a higher IQ, work in a more competitive profession, and probably have an equivalent knowledge about the costs of home ownership/maintenance and window installation (I have had double-paned windows installed). And I can confirm that you are a poorly-informed troll who is really adding nothing to this discussion.


          • Schlub says:

            Troy, indeed you’re probably right. These sorts of sales will likely be attempted towards condo conversion and subsequent resale.

        • maharba says:

          The city allows landlords to pass maintenance costs (as well as a lot of other costs) through to their tenants. These methods are not easy, but they exist. And they solve this kind of problem.

          If someone owns a building and rents it out to another person, they charge current market price. It doesn’t suddenly become impossible to maintain simply because rents around it skyrocket. When landlords fail to properly maintain buildings they do so out of greed, not poverty.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Yup, you are absolutely correct.

          • R. Reed says:

            Maintenance passthroughs are capped and are only approved after an absurd bureaucratic process. In my experience they don’t reflect the true costs of maintaining an older property.

            This disconnect has led many owners to exit the rental business and convert property into TICs or condos. The result is FAR better maintained buildings, seismic updates, and modern plumbing/electrical systems.

          • Warren says:

            if the anti rent control slackers on this blog ever worked for and owned a property they would soon learn the truth. At the moment, they are simply flapping their DSL’s about something they know nothing about.

  3. Brooke says:

    My friend’s cat, Chicken, died in the fire. :(