5-alarm fire engulfing buildings in San Francisco

By the Associated Press | December 22, 2011 | 3:55 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A large fire pushed by strong winds has engulfed at least three buildings near San Francisco's historic Alamo Square.

A pillar of thick smoke is rising into the sky over the neighborhood. KGO-TV reports (http://bit.ly/slFF5l ) that the fire burning Thursday afternoon has been upgraded to a five-alarm blaze.

A dispatcher says at least 120 firefighters have been sent to battle the flames at two apartment buildings and at least one other structure.

Occupants of the buildings have been evacuated. It's unclear if anyone was injured. Residents in the area are being instructed stay where they are.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known.