Wild theories & hot takes: Smoke from Russian consulate in SF causes Twitter frenzy
When firefighters showed up at the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco on Wednesday, it turned out the smoke was coming from its chimney.
As pictures and videos of the smoke surfaced online, Twitter users opined their theories about the ill-timed “incident" at the consulate.
What the hell is the Russian Consulate burning? Secrets to making the best vodka?— Akit (@AgentAkit) September 1, 2017
They're obviously trying to elect a Pope. Please let us know when the smoke turns white.— MW (@mewheels) September 1, 2017
Probably just toasting marshmallows in the 95 degree heat— Jonathan Drake (@Duck_person) September 1, 2017
One user said, “Oh "Up in Smoke" there goes the evidence!”
Oh "Up in Smoke" there goes the evidence!— True Voiceman (@RealTruVoiceman) September 1, 2017
This is such a weird movie— Dorian Satterlee (@deesatte) September 1, 2017
Russian consulate in SF does not have a backyard, so they had to throw s farewell BBQ party inside the building.— Kalb al Akrab🇨🇦 (@kalb_akrab) September 1, 2017
Another user stated the color of the smoke coming from the building may be a sign from Russia as to what will happen next in the ongoing back-and-forth between the two countries.
If it's white smoke, Putin has been replaced. If it's black smoke, the 'pee tape' is being released at 6 pm.— 🔵 Mr. Blue 🔵 (@OneKindOfBlue) September 1, 2017
Twitter hasn’t seen this much hype since the days leading up to the Mayweather-McGregor fight, with some likening the event to a movie. Others even suggested the announcement of a new pope could be on the horizon, as they tried to crack the case.
Staff burning papers and files, choppers circling, FBI vans loitering... just another day living on the same block as the #RussianConsulate.— Genève (@bergerbell) September 1, 2017
New pope?— Jack Shafer (@jackshafer) September 1, 2017
More accurate headline: "S.F. Cost of Living prompts Russian Consulate to Start Trash Fires, Unable to Pay Utility Bill."— ΛΛICK ΛVØ (@mick_avo) September 1, 2017
Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman from the San Francisco Fire Department, said the fire department received a call about the smoke and subsequently sent a crew over to investigate the matter. The department determined the smoke was coming from the building’s chimney.
"They had a fire going in their fireplace," Talmadge said, AP reported. "It was not unintentional. They were burning something in their fireplace."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, called the hysteria surrounding the chimney smoke nothing short of a staged disinformation “circus.” She explained, that having been given just three days to vacate the building, the consulate workers are just doing everything possible to “conserve” the building before deadline.
“They are conserving Russian-American relations. To save them for better times,” Zakharova sarcastically commented on the smoke.
For those who need a literal translation, Zahkarova explained that all “measures are being taken to conserve” and vacate the building which has for years been diplomatic property.
“In this regard, the windows can be closed, the curtains can be lowered, the light may turn off, water may be flushed, the doors may be locked, garbage can be disposed of, heating devices can be switched off, life support systems switched on, and much more,” Zakharova explained.
'Moscow will react to closure of SF consulate ‘without hysterical impulses’ – Ambassador to US https://t.co/VOJcu4hN7t— RT (@RT_com) September 1, 2017
A series of diplomatic ‘tit-for-tat’ steps since Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian staff last year has severely strained relations between Russia and US. In July, after Washington approved new anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow ordered the US State Department to limit – within a month – the number of its personnel in Russia to 455, bringing it in line with the number of Russian diplomatic staff in the US. Washington then went on to cut back visa operations in Russia and gave Moscow 2 days to shut down its San Francisco consulate.
Consulate workers, which mainly consist of Russian emigres and technology workers, are in the process of closing the building down by Saturday, in order to meet a deadline ordered by the Trump administration.