New Fire Hazards Found in Sinking Millennium Tower

Information about “a life and fire safety hazard to the occupants” was hidden from homeowners at the troubled skyscraper condo.

Wesaam Al-Badry, SF Examiner

The sinking and stinking Millennium Tower has become San Francisco’s favorite butt of jokes. The multi-million dollar condos have seen their value plummet to nothing as the once-prestigious units are now all over Craigslist (“FANTASTIC DEAL” – $9,800/month).

But the latest discovery about the leaning tower is no laughing matter. According to documents obtained by NBC Bay Area, undisclosed fire hazards were redacted from information provided to homeowners in the building.  

That information is now public, thanks to the NBC Bay Area report. The redacted information details how gaps between the building’s walls and structural frame “represent a breach in the fire and smoke barrier” and could be “a life and fire safety hazard to the occupants.”

That assessment comes from a December 2016 report from Palo Alto architectural engineering firm Allana Buick & Bers, conducted about five months after the sinking and leaning issues were revealed. While the information was included in the report, it was blacked out in the copy provided to condo owner Paula Pretlow (the resident who blew the whistle on the building’s odor issues).

“This building is not as safe as we all are being led to believe,” Pretlow told NBC Bay Area.

A San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson confirmed that the fire marshal is visiting the site next week to evaluate the issue, but would not comment further.

The sinking, the smell, and the fire risk are all interconnected problems. The sinking of the building has caused the glass and metal outer facade to separate from the structural frame. This has created a gap that allows odors to pervade into units, and could allow smoke and fire to spread more quickly.

“The whole thing is just really disturbing and troubling,” said Sup. Aaron Peskin, who represents the district in which the Millennium Tower is located. “Not only do all the condo owners have the right to have that information, but the city should have that information, so we can impose the kind of fixes that have to be imposed.”

Millennium Towers officials refused to comment for this story, but they are suing a Texas-based consultant who performed work on the outer facade.

The building isn’t just condominiums and apartments, it’s also home to the new high-end BBQ collaboration between Michael Mina and Steph Curry’s wife Ayesha Curry.  The name of that BBQ restaurant, rather ironic in light of these recent fire safety revelations, is International Smoke.

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