Authorities respond to debris fire at West Berkeley church; 1 man arrested

The church at 1927 Sixth Street where first responders handled a debris fire on Thursday April 12. Photo: Google Maps

Berkeley Fire Department responded to a fire Thursday morning at the Templo Gethsemani church in West Berkeley, according to BFD Assistant Chief Keith May. Berkeley police made one arrest in connection with the fire.

Starting at 8:33 a.m., BFD received multiple 911 calls about debris that was on fire in the doorway of the church at 1927 Sixth St. (near the intersection with University Avenue).

May said the first fire unit was on scene at 8:38 a.m. Several engines were deployed, as well as paramedics, and Berkeley Police were also on scene. The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries to any members of the public or any firefighters.

Berkeley Police officers arrested a man on suspicion of arson. “Officers began looking for the suspect based on witness descriptions,” said BPD spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel. “At 9:14 a.m., a patrol officer stopped a similarly described person on the 1600 block of Fourth Street. That man was subsequently arrested.”


Several Berkeleyside readers reported seeing the activity, which caused some minor traffic delays.  “I saw a lot of law enforcement activity at the intersection of Sixth St.,” wrote one reader by email, “… at least five police cars at the gas station next door to Chevron, and at least four fire trucks and an ambulance right around the corner on Sixth.”

This story was updated after publication after Berkeleyside received information from BPD.