SAN FRANCISCO — Police have taken a man into custody in the aftermath of a suspected arson fire that sent intense flames roaring through row houses in San Francisco early Tuesday, damaging several homes and displacing about 20 people, authorities said.
The blaze was reported shortly before 3 a.m. in the city’s Bayview District, an industrial area on the outskirts of the city near Candlestick Park.
It took about 100 firefighters nearly two hours to control the flames, said fire dispatcher Heather Grives.
Three to five homes were damaged, but Grives said she did not know the extent of the damage.
About 20 people were displaced, she said.
One person reportedly was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Police suspect the fire was intentionally set, and a 61-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning by arson investigators, police Officer Carlos Manfredi said.
Witnesses said they saw him carrying “some kind of incendiary device” and he was detained when he later returned to the fire scene, Manfredi said.
Neighbors told KTVU-TV that the area is home to many squatters, and the man may have been one of them.
Two women reported seeing him running away from the scene with a gasoline can, the station reported.