San Francisco tenants displaced by fire, then victimized by looters

The tenants of a San Francisco of a Victorian house with multi-units feel they've been victimized twice. 

They said they were forced out of their home by fire. Then, thieves looted their homes multiple times. The tenants say the thefts after the fire was preventable.

Belongings destroyed in a house fire sat on the sidewalk in the NOPA neighborhood.

"It's a really, really sad story.  Our house is literally on the ground," said Kenny Garcia. 

A fire broke out in the building on Jan. 22 about 1:40 a.m. 

Tenants said they were allowed into their units for a short time to grab clothes and necessities after crews put out the fire. 
They said what was salvageable was moved to one room.

But a day later when they returned, they said they found that their home had been looted.

"Every drawer is flipped inside out.  Everything is broken that wasn't touched by the fire," said tenant Andrew Torralvo, who is credited with getting others safely out of the building and saving lives.  

Tenants said items stolen include computers, cameras and video equipment they use to create videos for skating boarding publications such as Thrasher. 

Ted Maider said what's irreplaceable are two watches that belonged to his late grandparents, survivors of the Holocaust.

"It just hurts me so much those watches are either going to be sold for $2 or wind up in a trash can somewhere and it eats at me every single day," said Maider.  

Tenants said their loss could have prevented if the property management company had properly secured the building right after the fire. 

After a lock was installed on the front gate and thieves broke it,  tenants said management did not do enough to protect their home
"The building manager put the exact same broken, drilled in lock.  You can just pull open -back onto our building," said Torralvo,"Makes us have less hope in humanity and trusting people."

KTVU reached out to Jackson Group Property Management Inc for a response.  The company issued a statement said it had licensed personnel on site the day of the fire to secure the property to industry standards. 

But "despite their best efforts, someone drilled the lock on the gate to gain entrance that same day our locksmith was dispatched to re-install the lock and a set of chains and locks were put into place to further secure the building," the statement read. 

The tenants said they're staying with friends and they're grateful for community support.  

They plan to get legal advice to see what they can do to recover some of their loss.

"I'm just thankful to be alive," said Garcia despite his loss.

Only one tenant told KTVU he had renter's insurance.

Tenants said so far, police have arrested one person for breaking into the building.

They've started a GoFundMe to help pay for expenses and lost items. 

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