At 6:25 p.m., on the corner of Princess and Bridgeway in Sausalito, a fire erupted in the alley between Starbucks and Sausalito Jewelers. Within five minutes of the ignition, the fire quickly engulfed the alley, sending a plume of smoke into the air.
“The cause of the fire is yet to be determined but most likely started in one of the garbage cans in the alley,” Southern Marin Battalion Chief Matt Barnes said.
Two businesses and six residential units were damaged, including resident Sam Farnham’s apartment.
“I felt so helpless watching the fire climb into my apartment, I just pray everything in my apartment will be untouched,” he said. Farnham’s apartment suffered extensive damage; a significant part of his floor collapsed.
One fireman was injured in the blaze. “We had one firefighter who was electrocuted in the alleyway. Due to the fire in the alley and damage to the power boxes, we were not able to shut the power down. The fireman made contact with the electrically charged water and felt tingling in his pelvic area. He was taken to the hospital and I have been told that he will make a full recovery,” Barnes said.
The fire took approximately three hours to put out, due to the old wiring and poor lighting in the building.
“It was so poorly lit in there, we had trouble navigating the house until the smoke cleared,” a Mill Valley fireman at the scene said.
Residents will not be able to enter their living spaces for another 24 hours, and in Farnham’s case, potentially another couple weeks.
Photos by Rocky Brown.