Woman killed in early morning house fire in Berkeley

Mark Coplan lives just south of the house that caught fire early this morning, killing one woman who was inside. “It was pretty intense, and was out in an amazingly short time. Everyone on this side was concerned that the huge tree in the foreground of these photos would burn as well,” he said

Update, June 22: The woman killed in the house fire at 2919 Lorina Ave. in the early hours of June 21 has been identified as 26-year-old Meredith Ann Joyce of Oakland, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Joyce died of burns and smoke inhalation due to the blaze which investigators believe started in the historic Victorian home’s basement. Two heat detectors and a smoke detector were in the home, but it is not clear whether they were working.

Original story: A young woman was killed and two others were injured when a fire broke out Thursday morning in an old Victorian house at 2919 Lorina Ave.

Firefighters responded to the fire at 2:36 a.m. and found thick smoke and flames coming from the rear area of the house, located near the intersection of Shattuck and Ashby avenues. One of the residents of the home told firefighters that someone was still inside, according to Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.

Firefighters made their way to a small attic-like space on the third floor where they found an unconscious woman, said Dong.

“Firefighters were told there was still someone inside,” said Dong. “It was difficult to get to where the person was because of the amount of heat and a narrow stairway… She wasn’t breathing. They attempted to resuscitate her but ultimately pronounced the victim at the scene.”

The Fire Department controlled the fatal fire rapidly. This photo was taken at around 3:20 a.m. Photo: Keilou

The woman who died was young and was one of eight people staying in the house, he said. Five were residents and three were visitors. Two others were treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

The Red Cross came to the house and is helping with relocation efforts, said Dong.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Dong did not know if there were smoke detectors in the house.

A view of 2919 Lorina Avenue before the fire. Photo: Google Street View

Want to get a digest of all the day’s Berkeley news in your email inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.