San Francisco's new mayor makes history

The first black female mayor of San Francisco made history Wednesday as she took the oath of office, vowing to help drug users and the homeless in a city that has come to embody extremes of wealth and poverty.

In her inauguration speech, London Breed (D) promised to build more housing in a city that has a woefully inadequate supply for the number of high-paying tech-related jobs it creates.

She also pledged to stand by immigrants fearing crackdowns from President Trump’s administration and small-business owners struggling to get by in the face of high costs.

Breed, 43, grew up in public housing and frequently talks about the tough love and support she had while growing up, especially from the grandmother who raised her. Now, she will earn an annual salary of $335,996.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), a former San Francisco mayor, administered Breed’s oath on the steps of City Hall before at least 1,000 spectators.

Breed succeeds Mayor Ed Lee, whose death in December prompted a special June election to fill out the remainder of his term. She must run again in November 2019 if she wants a full four-year term.

She is only the second woman to serve as mayor. The first was U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), who welcomed her in a video message.

— Associated Press

Firefighter killed in natural gas explosion

A natural gas explosion killed a firefighter and destroyed parts of a city block in a southern Wisconsin community, including a bar the firefighter owned, authorities said Wednesday.

The blast in downtown Sun Prairie on Tuesday evening also injured at least a dozen people and left residents of the Madison suburb wondering how they will put their downtown back together.

The blast happened after police got a call at 6:30 p.m. that construction workers on a downtown street had punctured a WE Energies natural gas line. Police and firefighters arrived to investigate and were evacuating the area when an explosion occurred shortly after 7 p.m. The blast ignited four-story-high flames that burned long into the night and belched a smoke plume visible for miles.

Sun Prairie Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr was killed in the blast, said Mahlon Mitchell, president of the state firefighters union. Barr also worked as a real estate agent and owned the Barr House, a tavern destroyed in the explosion. At least four other buildings were damaged.

Five other firefighters, a police officer and at least six civilians were hurt, according to Sun Prairie police Lt. Kevin Konopacki. One of the firefighters was critically injured and remained hospitalized Wednesday, Konopacki said.

— Associated Press

All on board rescued
at site of plane crash

All 11 people aboard a plane that crashed Tuesday have been rescued in mountainous terrain on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, officials said.

A Coast Guard helicopter found the crash site and hoisted the pilot and 10 passengers to safety, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Charly Hengen said.

The chartered Taquan Air flight crashed on a rocky mountainside near Ketchikan. Hengen said the downed aircraft had an emergency locator that aided a search effort.

The heavily forested island near the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle is the fourth-largest in the United States.

— Associated Press