Smoke Seen Pouring Out of Russian Consulate in San Francisco

Smoke was seen pouring from the chimney of the Russian consulate in San Francisco on Friday. 

Photographers with The Associated Press and Getty captured clouds of black smoke pouring from the building—a day after the Trump administration ordered its closure.

Russian consulate officials turned away firefighters who came to the building, AP reported. AP reporters said they heard a worker telling firefighters that there was no problem, adding that items were being burned in the fireplace.

It is unclear what those items were.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Black smoke billows from a chimney on top of the Russian consulate on September 1, 2017 in San Francisco, California. In response to a Russian government demand for the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 455, the Trump administration ordered the closure of three consular offices in the San Francisco, New York and Washington.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Black smoke billows from a chimney on top of the Russian consulate in San Francisco, Calif., on Sept. 1, 2017. In response to a Russian government demand for the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 455, the Trump administration ordered the closure of three consular offices in the San Francisco, New York and Washington. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“They had a fire going in their fireplace,” Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department, told AP.

“It was not unintentional. They were burning something in their fireplace,” she added.

Temperatures climbed to 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the city on Friday when the fire was burning.

The entrance to the building of the Consulate General of Russia is shown in San Francisco, Calif., on August 31, 2017.   (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
The entrance to the building of the Consulate General of Russia is shown in San Francisco, Calif., on Aug. 31, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

The federal government ordered the consulate shut down by Saturday, Sept. 2. It’s located at Green Street in Cow Hollow.

Russia’s chancery annex in Washington, D.C., as well as its consular annex in New York, were also ordered closed down in “the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told the Chicago Tribune.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Black smoke billows from a chimney on top of the Russian consulate on September 1, 2017 in San Francisco, California. In response to a Russian government demand for the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 455, the Trump administration ordered the closure of three consular offices in the San Francisco, New York and Washington.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes,” Nauert said, “we have chosen to allow the Russian government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.”

According to Russian state television, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he regrets “the escalation of tensions” between the two countries.

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