The restaurant where a large four-alarm fire began in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood last month did not have a sprinkler system, according to a top fire official.
The building at Union Street and Columbus Avenue, which was the scene of one of the city's biggest blazes in years, housed five businesses on the ground floor, including four eateries.
"Upon my site visit I only saw sprinklers in one of the restaurants, and it wasn't the restaurant where the area of origin of the fire was," said Dan De Cossio, the city's fire marshal, in an interview.
"Would it have helped? Sure. Would it have controlled the fire long enough to prevent extension? I'm not so sure about that," De Cossio said.
Investigators believe the March 17 fire began in a flue or shaft in an area above the dropped ceiling of the restaurant's kitchen. The blaze burned through two floors of residential construction, sent large flames shooting into the sky and a huge amount of smoke wafting through the city.