301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org
File photo of the Mission and 22nd street fire in 2015.

3.9.21 – Mission Local

Tommy Min Jue, a contractor accused of setting up faulty fire alarms in numerous San Francisco buildings — including the building at 22nd and Mission Streets where a 2015 fire left one person dead and scores of occupants displaced — has been charged with grand theft, using a contractor’s license with intent to defraud, forgery, and insurance fraud.

Jue’s charges all stem from his allegedly fraudulent fire alarm company that may have visited hundreds of homes.  

The San Francisco District Attorney announced the charges on Tuesday, six years after the four-alarm fire destroyed the building at 22nd and Mission streets. Mission Local was among those displaced. 

The building’s owner, Hawk Ling Lou, said Jue managed the building’s fire alarms. These failed to sound as the fire engulfed the building. Many occupants only learned of the fire as fire engines arrived, and the blaze cost resident Mauricio Orellana his life. 

In the flood of litigation against Lou following the deadly blaze, Lou blamed Jue for the catastrophe, alleging he failed to maintain the system. And Jue admitted in a deposition that he was never a licensed contractor in a case that eventually settled, KTVU reported in 2018. https://d-8375328244093871368.ampproject.net/2103020156005/frame.html

But the building at 2578-2598 Mission St., which was never restored — only a crater remains at the corner — is not the only site where Jue is accused of potentially putting occupants in harm’s way. 

District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in his announcement today that an investigation by his office and the Contractors State License Board, which regulates the state’s construction industry, focused on 15 job sites where Jue allegedly performed “fire alarm service or installation.” 

Furthermore, Department and Building Inspection sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Mission Local that “literally thousands of fire extinguishers throughout the city are potentially worthless.”

Boudin warned consumers to be careful about any work Jue or his company, Tom Jue & Company, may have done in their homes or buildings — and urged them to have the work reinspected by a licensed contractor. Boudin also asked that clients of Jue contact his office. 

“Contracting without a license, particularly when installing essential fire safety devices, erodes public trust and puts lives at risk. People who jeopardize public safety in this way must be held accountable,” Boudin said in a statement.  “Consumers should be able to rely on a contractor’s license as an assurance that they’re being assisted by a competent expert in their field. ”https://d-8375328244093871368.ampproject.net/2103020156005/frame.html

Even after the DA’s office began investigating Jue in 2018 and the San Francisco Fire Department issued a cease-and-desist order, Jue continued to perform fire alarm work under various contractor’s licenses that were not his own, according to a KTVU investigation

On Tuesday afternoon, Jue was arraigned on the felony charges in San Francisco Superior Court. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.