Firefighters were preparing to reenter a building undergoing renovations where a three-alarm fire broke out near San Francisco's United Nations Plaza Monday afternoon, a fire spokeswoman said.
The blaze was reported at 12:03 p.m. at 45 McAllister St., the site of the former Renoir Hotel, fire officials said.
Firefighters responded and initially went into the eight-story building, but evacuated after hearing explosions that possibly came from propane tanks inside the building, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
For nearly two hours, fire crews fought the flames from the outside but as of about 2 p.m. they were preparing to try to reenter the structure, Talmadge said.
The blaze is not expected to be extinguished until later this afternoon, Talmadge said.
About two dozen construction workers were in the building when the fire started in between the first and second floors, Talmadge said.
All of the workers got out of the building but seven were taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation. One other worker suffered smoke inhalation but declined to be taken to the hospital. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, Talmadge said.
The response to the fire has shut down a portion of Market Street as well as other streets surrounding the building.
Smoke was pouring out of multiple floors of the building Monday afternoon but no flames were visible from the street.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.