September 12, 2017 11:33 pm

San Francisco cites Russian diplomats over mystery smoke at consulate

WATCH ABOVE: Black smoke rising from Russian consulate causes media panic

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San Francisco’s air board has cited Russian diplomats after smoke from fires wafted out of a consulate that was ordered shut by the U.S. government earlier this month.

Spokeswoman Lisa Fasano of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District says her agency mailed the citation Tuesday involving the now-closed Russian consulate.

READ MORE: Fire forces workers from San Francisco Russian consulate after U.S. orders shut down

The U.S. State Department ordered the Russian consulate shuttered in an ongoing diplomatic dispute.

Smoke poured out of the consulate’s chimney on Sept. 1 as Russian diplomats packed to leave. The Russians refused assistance from firefighters.

READ MORE: U.S. shuts down Russian consulate in latest retaliation

The air board spokeswoman says the diplomats were cited for burning garbage, which is illegal year-round in San Francisco. Fasano says inspectors do not know what material was burned.

Calls to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., for comment went unanswered after-hours.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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