Babylon Burning, legacy San Francisco business, vows to rebuild after devastating fire

A fire over the weekend devastated a legacy business in San Francisco. But owner Mike Lynch says he is determined to rebuild with the help of friends and the community.  

"This is all my machinery ruined by the water damage," said Lynch as he showed what was left of Babylon Burning, the silk-screen printing shop in the South of Market district.  

"Stuff dripping off the walls. The water and soot from upstairs just got on these. Probably had eight or nine boxes like this," said Lynch as he pointed to damaged t-shirts and framed art.   
The strong smell of smoke lingered.  

"Material things that can be replaced. It's just the history that can't be replaced," Lynch said his shop, designated a legacy business by the city, has been part of his life for more than three decades. 
But around 1 a.m. Saturday, a fire broke out causing extensive damage.  

A fire department spokesman said it took three hours to get it under control and whether the cause is accidental or arson has yet to be determined.

"This one thing is the one we're trying to do at a friend's place," said Lynch as he picked up a film negative of an image he was going to print onto t-shirts for Everett Middle School. 
It's one of many jobs he was trying to complete before the fire and one that he is now scrambling to finish by working out of friends' garages. 

He prints t-shirts and other products for a wide variety of clients including nonprofits, museums and businesses. 
It's a passion.

"You want a job that doesn't feel like a job. This doesn't feel like a job.  Love doing it," said Lynch.  

He estimated his loss to be up to $500,000. He said he and his wife are determined to rebuild, but they said it won't be in this building because it appears repairs will take a long time.  

Lynch became emotional as he reflected on the loss, "To think that I'm not going to be in the building is what's kind of hard,"  

The couple is now raising money to rebuild by relocating. They hope to find a new home by February.

To help rebuild Babylon Burning, check their gofundme. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU