San Francisco Residents Forced to Permanently Leave Building Damaged by Fire

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Cornell Barnard
ABC (San Francisco)

Residents living at a San Francisco building that was damaged by a fire are being forced out permanently.

The apartment building at Mission and 22nd streets was severely damaged in January last year.

The people who were forced out stand to lose not only their homes, but their right to rent-control as well.

Marcela Cordova still has nightmares about being trapped in her apartment by a wall of smoke and flames. "I remember trying to save my life and my daughters life, I didn't think we were going to make it," she said.

Cordova escaped the building, but one tenant lost his life.

Now living on Treasure Island, many displaced families were hoping to return one day. "Hoping so, my son goes to high school at Lowell in San Francisco, it's too far from here," Nancy Caro said.

City inspectors have ordered the building demolished because an earthquake could collapse the building onto the street.

Demolition would erase tenants rights to return. Even after a new building goes up, rent control laws would no longer apply. "Apartments for one room, $3000, crazy, even in the Mission," Caro said.

"It's unconscionable the owner of the building has gotten to the point where they are," Caro said.

Supervisor David Campos is calls the demolition order unjust and he's searching for a solution. "What I want people to know is my office is doing everything we can legally to protect these tenants," he said.

The owner of the building could not be reached for comment.

Tenants hoping for a last minute miracle could one day help them return to the place they called home for decades.

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