Pierre Pegeron, who rushed into the burning building at 493 Haight Street two weeks ago and went door-to-door evacuating people, will be honored for his actions by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Pegeron, pictured above in the green jacket, is the co-owner of the Lo-Cost Meat Market at 498 Haight Street. Pegeron was working at the market on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 27th when he noticed flames shooting from a window across the street, two stories above the Walgreens at the corner of Haight and Fillmore.
Pegeron immediately ran outside and found Gustavo Manzanares, a painter who had been hired to work on the building. Manzanares had a key and was able to open the first-floor entrance, after which he and Pegeron raced inside.
They went door-to-door trying to evacuate people, banging on doors amidst increasing smoke. Pegeron recalls reaching a bedroom inside apartment #28, where the fire originated. The smoke was so thick that Pegeron couldn’t see, so he shouted “Fire! You have to get out!” in case anyone might be inside the room. He also grabbed the bed and jostled it, in the hopes of wakening anyone who might have been sleeping or passed out due to the fire. At that point, the smoke was so bad that Pegeron had to leave.
It’s unknown how many people Pegeron and Manzanares helped to evacuate from the building, but multiple tenants did mention being unaware of the fire until Pegeron came banging on their doors.
Now, their heroic action is being recognized by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Tuesday, October 18th, the Board of Supervisors will issue a commendation to Pegeron for his actions that day. The meeting is scheduled for 3:30pm, in room 416. The Lower Haight Merchants and Neighbors Association will also receive recognition for their efforts in response to the fire. It’s unclear if Manzanares will be recognized as well.
The cause of the fire is still considered “undetermined,” though the investigation continues. Yesterday, a Fire Department spokeswoman told us that the final report should be issued in about two weeks.
Rumors have been swirling about the fire’s cause, but there’s one theory that Pegeron would like to dispel.
“There was no meth lab,” Pegeron says with a chuckle.
And given the first-hand look he got that day, we’re inclined to believe him.
Congrats to Pierre for his well-deserved commendation, and infinite thanks to him and Gustavo for their actions that day. Neighborhood heroes, indeed.