A rooftop fire flared up at a United Airlines maintenance hangar at San Francisco International Airport yesterday, but damage was thankfully minimal.
A fire on the roof started at 7:30 AM, sending thick plumes of smoke into the crisp morning air. The building was promptly evacuated and firefighters successfully extinguished the blaze in about an hour. No flights were delayed nor passengers impacted.
United mechanic Scott Pierson told KGO, a local ABC affiliate:
They evacuated us and they didn’t tell us what it was but I talked to some people and heard it was the HVAC on top of the building. I didn’t see anything except a lot of smoke. I didn’t see fire. I didn’t see anything burning.
United released the following statement about the event:
This morning, a fire started at a building at our maintenance facility located north of the terminals at San Francisco International Airport. Our employees acted quickly to safely evacuate the building and there are no reported injuries. Acting swiftly, the San Francisco Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire and we are currently assessing the facility. There is no impact to our operations at the airport.
I cover this story because it could have been so much worse. Imagine if the fire had spread more quickly and engulfed valuable parts…or even aircraft? What if someone had been injured or perished? Fires can start quickly and spread quickly…kudos to the San Francisco Fire Department for quickly extinguishing this blaze. Channeling my Smokey the Bear voice, I note that it doesn’t take much to start a fire…I’m glad this story ended well.
Interesting that the San Francisco Fire Department still supports the facility given that it’s actually in San Mateo County.
The airport itself is technically considered part of the City and County of San Francisco as the City and County own the property on which the airport is situated, and the airport itself is both owned and operated by the same. SFO is essentially an island of the city proper all by its lonesome 12 miles away. Hence why a lot of public services are provided by the City.
And here I’d been thinking all this time that I had been landing in the city of South San Francisco, California! Hmm … you learn something new every day (provided you pay attention). 😉
Oddly enough, all the phones at SFO have a 650 area code instead of 415.
That hanger likely had a quick response automatic fire protection system. If the fire would have spread to the aircraft area a foam system dumps/floods the hanger with a Shasta very that covers the planes and controls and possibly extinguished the fire. My husband is in that business and says it’s a sight to see those systems in action. (He sees them tested, not in an actual fire)