Commerical fishermen sue city of San Francisco over Fisherman’s Wharf fire

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100 firefighters and 40 vehicles were deployed to fight massive blaze at iconic fishing hub in May.

The bulk of San Francisco‘s seafood industry sued the city on Wednesday, reports Associated Press.

Last May 130 firefighters battled a huge fire which started in warehouse at the Port of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The site is the centre of Northern California’s commercial and sport fishing fleets. The Wharf’s Pier 45 houses the West Coast’s largest concentration of commercial fish processors and distributors.

Fisherman, who lease space from the port to store their equipment, allege the port knew but did not stop homeless people from entering and setting camping and cooking fires within the building, which contained flammable materials and lacked automatic sprinklers and fire extinguishers.

“San Francisco is not San Francisco without its fishing community,” said Stuart G. Gross, attorney for the fishermen. “For well over 100 years, San Francisco’s fishing community has been literally synonymous with the city’s waterfront. If we lose that community, the waterfront loses its soul,” he added.

The lawsuit allege that the port failed to ensure that an adequate water supply was available, which they say prevented fire fighters from putting out the blaze faster.

Commercial fishermen said everyone lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of gear in the fire.

Defendant attorney John Cote, speaking on behalf of City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said that the “city was not responsible for that fire”.