Firefighter injured in Bernal Heights blaze, couple's sentimental items salvaged

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A San Francisco firefighter was injured this morning while fighting a two alarm blaze in the city's Bernal Heights neighborhood. Luckily, he is expected to be okay and residents got out of the house safely.

The home's eight residents, including children, were displaced as a result of the fire. 

While the homeowner says his house may be destroyed, firefighters were able to salvage some things of value.

Cell phone video shows smoke streaming out of the roof of a home on Prospect Avenue near Virginia Avenue shortly after 8:30 this morning.

"Somebody knocked on our door and screamed really loudly, 'Fire!' said Monica Martinez, who lives next door to the house where the fire broke out.  "It was really scary. I'm still a little... shocked."

"It could have been so much worse,“ sighed JJ Wiesler. The homeowner was at work when flames erupted but his wife and three-year-old son were home eating breakfast. They say it took crews less than five minutes to respond.

"After containing the fire, they came out and said, 'Where are things that are sentimental? Where are things that we should save?'" explained Wiesler. Firefighters salvaged family photos, artwork, instruments and even the children's blankets that they can't sleep without.

"[One firefighter] had the big fire jacket on and she opened it up and the [kids' blankets] were in there and it was uh- a very high level of competence, doing what they did today," said Wiesler as he got choked up.

One firefighter received a moderate injury, receiving a gash on his head. "He was struck by material operating inside the fire conditions,” said Battalion Chief Thomas Abbott. "Inside there's a lot of heat smoke visibility is very poor and fire like this was tricky where it's all in the walls."

Crews used three handmade wooden ladders in order to fight today's fire, which are specifically designed to combat fires in Victorian homes in San Francisco. "In our older neighborhoods where the homes are 100 years old," said Abbott, "These ladders were built for laddering these types of Victorian structures."

Everyone in the home got out safely, including the neighbors on both sides.

It may be several months before the Wieslers can go back home, but they say they will never forget what firefighters did for them today.

"They got a wedding ring, they got our wedding pictures, they got the things that, you know, you just can't replace," said Wiesler, teary-eyed. "They really took care of it that way, I was blown away."