Heads are turning at the Russian consulate in San Francisco, which had black smoke billowing from the roof on Friday.


According to the Associated Press, firefighters arrived at the scene after many people called reporting a fire. The firefighters were told that there was no problem and the consulate was burning "unidentified items" in the fireplace.

San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson, Mindy Talamadge, told the AP, "They had a fire going in their fireplace."

She said that she wasn't sure why they were burning a fire on a day in which temperatures already passed 95 degrees.

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

The Russians are being ordered to vacate the consulate and diplomatic residence in the city by Saturday. The house has long been home to Russian emigres and technology workers.

According to one person on Twitter, passport applicants that have come from the building say that most of the staff seems to be "absent, preoccupied."

Those observing the story immediately alleged that they were likely burning documents they didn't want the FBI to find.

WATCH the chimney-cam via ABC10: