San Francisco supervisor apologizes to fire chief after North Beach blaze

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin apologized on Tuesday to Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White after he criticized the department's efforts to extinguish a large four-alarm blaze in North Beach over the weekend.

"I apologize to Chief Hayes-White, and I intend to personally convey this to her as soon as I return from the spring legislative recess," Peskin said in a statement.

He said he has a "genuine love" for his constituents, and while it was inappropriate to raise his concerns at the scene of the fire, he would reserve the right to raise more questions about the department's response. 

On Tuesday, Chief Hayes-White released her response to Peskin, a letter dated March 19th. "This letter is a formal request that you abide the California Incident Command System Structure and the San Francisco Fire Department's protocols and procedures, which forbids individuals from interfering with Firefighters acting in the line of duty during emergency incidents," the letter stated. "Your actions were distracting and obstructive to achieving containment and control of a volatile incident and jeopardized your own safety, members of the public's safety."

San Francisco fire officials released a statement on Monday outlining a minute-by-minute breakdown of firefighters' efforts to contain the blaze.    The department said firefighters reached 659 Union St. at 7:24 p.m. and were pouring water on the fire by 7:33 p.m.

Twenty minutes later, crews determined there were no people in the building and firefighters switched to a "defensive operation" to combat the blaze from outside. Firefighters would succumb to injury or death if they stayed inside the building while water was being poured into it, fire officials 
said.    A fourth alarm was called at 8:04 p.m. The fire was contained at 9:18 p.m. and fully under control by 1:15 a.m Sunday, according to the fire department.    Fire officials said the blaze is under investigation, but preliminary reports suggest it was caused by an accident. 

The fire impacted more than 50 workers on Columbus Avenue and Union Street, according to the mayor's office. The city activated an emergency relief fund on Monday offering $10,000 to each of the seven businesses in the fire.  Coit Liquors, Ferry Plaza Seafood, Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe, The Salzburg, Rogue Ales Public House, Jack Lee Fong Insurance Agency and Michelangelo Cafe suffered water damage, fire damage or both.  Eight people were displaced from their homes because of the blaze, 
according to the fire department.

KTVU contributed to this report.