Residents from as many as 30 units at Gateway Apartments and Townhomes in San Francisco were displaced Monday in a 3-alarm fire in the 25-story Financial District high-rise.
The fire at 405 Davis Court near Washington Street was reported at 5:15 p.m. and by shortly after 6 p.m. was quickly contained, according to San Francisco Fire Department.
Fire officials said there were no reports of injuries, but multiple rescues. A firefighter told us the building, which was completed in 1965, is not equipped with a sprinkler system.
The fire in the building next to the Embarcadero Center had spread on the 12th through 16th floors.
Word of the blaze erupted on social media around 5:30 p.m.
At a news conference held Monday evening, officials said at least two individuals were rescued. They described a scene of active fire in the hallways and fire lapping over from the outside of the 196-unit building. The fire was contained to one side of the building.
"I didn't smell anything, but the alarm went off in the building," Allison Attfield, a fire victim, said.
Fire officials stressed that they train extensively for high-rise fires, but fortunately don't see them often.
"I was studying at home and then I heard the alarm going off and a lady screaming," said Karim Mowafy, another fire victim.
Firefighters say they believe the fire started on the 12th floor and that as they were rushing in, most of the residents were on their way out.
"I grabbed my dog went down the stairs and kind of thought it was false alarm until we got to the 12th floor and started smelling smoke. So that's when we knew and got outside and just saw smoke billowing out," Attfield said.
Investigators said at least six people were physically disabled, some of them in wheelchairs, and needed help leaving the building. A 100 year-old couple was among those who were rescued by firefighters.
"We do have a number of seven individuals that were treated on scene and that's for smoke inhalation and other items such as anxiety," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter with SF Fire Department.
Without a sprinkler system in place, crews had to go floor to floor to put out the flames, tapping into the building's emergency water pipes.
An evacuation center for those displaced has been set up at 5 Embarcadero Hyatt Regency by the Red Cross. At least a dozen are at the shelter, but that number is expected to rise as more people come home to assess the damage.
Displaced residents can text zip code 94111 to 888-777 for the latest updates.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
KTVU's Paul Chambers contributed to this report.