"It started like a little thing, then the whole structure started", Dizon told the Chronicle.
A fire engulfed a warehouse on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf early Saturday, sending a thick plume of smoke over the waterfront and threatening to spread to a historic World War II-era ship before firefighters brought the flames under control.
The SS Jeremiah O'Brien, one of just two remaining fully functioning Liberty ships that were launched during World War II and which stormed Normandy in the 1944 D-Day operation, suffered only paint damage, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
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The warehouse, which holds fish processing equipment and a few offices, is typically unoccupied at night but homeless people have been seen in buildings and warehouses in the area, Baxter said. The ship docks by Pier 45 and is a popular tourist attraction.
Officers were still working hours later to contain the fire but some buildings had partially collapsed in the flames.
"We are saddened to hear that all contents within the destroyed Shed C building were not recoverable as that loss will be felt throughout the entire fishing and wharf community", he said in a statement. Baxter said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
At least 130 firefighters have been dispatched to the scene, as well as fireboats and Coast Guard and Police Marine units to help monitor the water around the Pier, according to officials.