Following a jobs cull of nearly forty employees last week at True North’s FCB Worldwide in San Francisco, the city’s fire department declared an incident at the unit as “an incendiary fire [which] is now being investigated as a crime."

The blaze was discovered in a third floor conference room on May 3, the same day the agency culled around 12% of its 390 local staff. The redundancies followed the switch of FCB’s $400 million AT&T Wireless account to its sister shop in New York - deemed better able to fight FCB's corner in a recently announced review.

According to fire a department spoke, it is not known yet how the fire started. More information is expected to be made available by the end of this week.

San Francisco is not the only FCB unit in California to be hit by layoffs. Fourteen of eighty jobs have been axed at the Los Angeles office while FCB El Segundo has shed fourteen of its sixty staff. The network blames the slowing economy for the losses, dubbing the layoffs “an effort to streamline agency resources”.

News sources: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline;