Pier 45 fire destroys hundreds of thousands of dollars in commercial fishing equipment

John Barnett, the President of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owner’s Association is one of several fishermen who lost gear in Saturday’s massive fire at Pier 45.

"The fire was so detrimental because it took all the gear, everything," said Barnett. He said he lost about $250,000 in supplies inside Shed C, the large warehouse that burned to the ground.

"All I have left as far as crab fishing is permits," said Barnett. "I lost all my hydraulics, all the apparatus to pull the gear. I lost my tanks to put the crabs in, and 650 traps."

Crab fishermen say Saturday's 4-alarm fire left them devastated. They were already hit hard by COVID-19 and restrictions around the shelter-in-place.

Nick Krieger owns a commercial fishing boat called “Take Time.” He said many fishermen will likely miss the upcoming crabbing season.

"This is a huge setback for me," said Krieger. "It took me over 10 years to accumulate all that gear. Not just buy it but set it up with lines and buoys and get it ready to fish. And even if I had the money to replace all of it there’s no way I could do all the work before the next crab season.”

"We're not getting any business now," said Barnett. "No tourism business for this operation, no commercial fishing business for the other boat and now all the gear is lost.”

The Red and White Fleet which operates cruises on the San Francisco Bay lost its corporate offices and engineering shop.

"Thankfully our employees are safe and are vessels are unaffected," said operations manager Chris Summer. "We’ve been here a long time and we’ve faced a lot of adversity over the years but we are resilient.”

Executive Vice President Tyler Foster said the Red and White Fleet will stay in business. The company was hoping to finally start moving forward with plans to reopen as restrictions ease.

"Probably the thing I’m most upset about is because of our history we had a lot of old pictures and documents and those things you can’t replace," said Foster.

The Port of San Francisco said tenants impacted by the fire will be connected with disaster relief support.

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