Thomas K. Pendergast, a reporter with the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers, was honored by the SF Press Club on Nov. 15 for his investigative reporting on the lack of water available for firefighting in San Francisco’s western and southern neighborhoods. The story also ran in several of the city’s neighborhood newspapers.
The story documented the historical lack of water for emergency use and the city’s recalcitrance to expand the city’s emergency firefighting water supply to some neighborhoods built after the 1906 earthquake. After that disaster, the City built an Auxillary Water Supply System to tap unlimited salt water supplies to fight conflagrations. The system stops at 12th Avenue in the Richmond District and 19th Avenue in the Sunset District.