Published on .

May 7, 2001

By Alice Z Cuneo

SAN FRANCISCO ( -- The San Francisco Fire Department is conducting an investigation in the wake of a fire in the

offices of True North Communications' FCB Worldwide here.

Pete Howes, a spokesman for the fire department, told the fire was "deemed an incendiary fire and is now being investigated as a crime."

The fire broke out in a third floor conference room on May 2, the same day FCB laid off what was reported by the company as about four dozen employees, or 12% of its 390 staff members.

Mr. Howes said he did not know what started the fire or how much damage the flames caused. More information may become available at the end of the week, he said.

The building FCB occupies on Front Street in the heart of the San Francisco's so-called ad ghetto was evacuated when the fire alarms went off. No injuries were reported. An FCB spokeswoman had no further comment.

Separate layoff
In a separate move, FCB's Southern California office laid off 14 in its El Segundo office, which has 60 employees, public relations director Scott Anderson said.

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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