Category Archives: Fire
It was her first week as a 2013 freshman at UC Berkeley when Sarah Jones witnessed a fellow student being rushed to hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning. The female student, who lives in the same dorm as Jones (not her real name), was turning 18 and friends had lined up 18 shots for her to drink. Jones said she doesn’t remember how many the student had drunk before the ambulance was called.
Last week, ABC 7′s I-Team produced a troubling report about a surge in extreme drinking so far this year at UC Berkeley. According to the investigation, UC Berkeley has seen an increase in the number of students who get so drunk, often at frat parties, that they need to be taken to the hospital for care.
This has, at times, put a significant burden on the city’s ambulance services, leaving other city residents waiting for care, or requiring the Berkeley Fire Department to call for help from other paramedics in the region. It also puts pressure on the hospital closest to campus, Alta Bates, according to ABC. … Continue reading »
Support and funds are pouring in for an 18-year-old Berkeley student who was set on fire while riding an AC Transit bus in Oakland Monday evening.
Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, a senior at Berkeley’s Maybeck High School, was sleeping in the rear of a bus heading toward East Oakland. Fleischman’s skirt was set on fire, according to a report in the Contra Costa Times.
Police arrested a 16-year-old Oakland High School student Tuesday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem. He could face other charges, according to the Tribune, which said he was identified through surveillance video on the bus.
Fleischman, with the help of other riders, was able to extinguish the flames but suffered second- and third-degree burns to the legs that will require significant skin grafting. The student is in stable condition at St. Francis Memorial Hospital’s Bothin Burn Center in San Francisco and has a good prognosis for recovery, according to an email sent out to the Maybeck community by the school’s director, Trevor Cralle, Tuesday. … Continue reading »
Nine people were displaced Monday when a house fire in the 1500 block of Tyler Street started in the kitchen of a triplex, according to authorities.
Just after 1 p.m., firefighters responded to a three-unit home on Tyler after a resident reported the fire, said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb of the Berkeley Fire Department on Tuesday. Officials believe the accidental fire began in a kitchen appliance on the second floor. … Continue reading »
A three-story, six-unit apartment building destroyed by fire early last year will remain rent-controlled, and former residents should have the right to return to the property, city staff said Tuesday night.
The Berkeley City Council heard an appeal Tuesday, filed by former tenants, of a June 2013 Zoning Adjustments Board decision regarding the property. Appellants alleged that property owner Lakireddy Bali Reddy was negligent in his approach to building maintenance, and that his negligence contributed to an unsafe situation that led to last year’s devastating fire at 2227 Dwight Way.
In addition to criticizing the city process related to rebuilding after the fire, appellants also said Reddy, of Everest Properties, should have to pay into the city’s affordable housing fund. City staff explained that the municipal code does not require that, since what is slated to be rebuilt is no different from what was on site before. … Continue reading »
A small fire in North Berkeley on Monday morning caused minor damage to a duplex on Virginia Street, authorities said.
Several readers asked Berkeleyside about the fire, which drew four engines, a truck, an ambulance and a chief officer to the scene.
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb, of the Berkeley Fire Department, said the call about the incident came in at 8:40 a.m. about a home in the 2100 block of Virginia Street, between Oxford and Walnut streets. The building is a duplex with two stories over a garage.
Webb said the fire reportedly began in a floor furnace in the floor of the living space immediately above the garage. … Continue reading »
Supporters of Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp, which was destroyed by the Rim Fire in August, came out last week to urge fast action and promise volunteer muscle in the city’s efforts to rebuild the much-loved institution.
Supporters of the camp were among about 40 people who turned out for a meeting organized by the city’s Parks and Waterfront Commission to get community feedback from local residents about their hopes for parks and recreation facilities going forward. The meeting, which was held last Wednesday night, was the second in a series; the third meeting, which is focused on South Berkeley, takes place tonight, Oct. 16. (Scroll to the bottom of this story for details.)
Discussions are in their preliminary stages, but the commission may well be laying the groundwork for a new parcel tax, bond measure or some combination of the two. Staffing and financial cutbacks driven by challenging economic times have left holes in the city budget for spending on parks and recreation, and commission members say they want to find a way to address the shortfall. City staff described a $40 million backlog of unfunded projects, and 30 fewer staff positions than the department had as of about a decade ago.
Last Wednesday, Tuolumne Camp wasn’t the only focus for members of the public, but it was at the heart of many public comments. Attendees spoke about the camp’s importance, the high level of interest in volunteer assistance with rebuilding it, and the potential of perhaps expanding the program into a year-round facility. … Continue reading »
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Scroll down for details about the size of the fire and the smoke advisory issued Friday afternoon.
Shortly after 2 p.m., many members of the public began reporting a strong smell of smoke around Berkeley. One resident reported a possible fire in Tilden. Berkeleyside checked with the Berkeley Fire Department and were told that the heavy smoke was making its way over from an 8-alarm fire in Suisun City, in Solano County.
“The wind changed and we’re getting the smoke,” said Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong shortly before 2:20 p.m. He said Berkeley Fire crews are able to see the Suisun plume from the hills.
Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said the department does have a patrol unit checking the area in the Berkeley Hills but, as of about 2:25 p.m., the smell just appeared to be caused by “drift smoke” from Solano County. … Continue reading »
Original post, 1 p.m., Berkeley and Oakland firefighters, already on high alert because of high winds and low humidity, quickly extinguished a small vegetation fire behind Clark Kerr campus on Friday morning.
The Berkeley Fire Department received multiple calls about smoke and flames around 3:44 a.m. from people living in the area above the campus, said Fire Chief Gil Dong. One resident in the Panoramic Way area was able to give a fairly precise location to the fire department, in an area above the track along Dwight Way. … Continue reading »
Life at UC Berkeley is almost back to normal today, a day and a half after a complete power outage, followed by a two-story high explosion, prompted the complete emergency evacuation of the campus for the first time in living memory. Police said they are hopeful of finding the culprits whose theft of some high-voltage copper wire triggered the outage.
Full power has been restored to all academic and administrative buildings and classes are in session, according to Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof. Rented generators have been brought in to provide power to 11 buildings that have not yet been reconnected to the university’s main grid, he said.
The school is taking a precautionary approach to restoring power to some buildings. … Continue reading »
Update, 6:45 a.m. Power has been restored to most of the buildings on campus and most classes will meet as scheduled. But 11 buildings remain closed, including Doe Library, the Bancroft Library, California Hall, Durant Hall, Dwinelle Hall and annex, and Edwards track. Classes at those buildings will be cancelled. Click here for complete list.
Original story: The UC Berkeley campus remained eerily dark and deserted Monday night after officials ordered everyone to evacuate because of a large explosion.
(See Berkeleyside’s live blog of developments related to the incident here.) … Continue reading »
[Editor's Note: Monday afternoon, a power outage and subsequent explosion rocked the UC Berkeley campus and sent one student to the hospital. Scroll down to view Berkeleyside's live blog of updates throughout the night. See a chronological version of events here.]
Update, 11:59 p.m. During UC Berkeley’s evacuation Monday due to a power outage and the explosion that followed, members of Cal’s amateur radio club remained nearby to help spread the word about the developing situation to emergency workers and ham radio operators throughout the area.
Jack Burris (amateur radio call-sign “K6JEB”) works as an IT manager for UC Berkeley’s social sciences Data Lab and is president of the radio club. He said he and another club member, Joel Martin (call-sign “KQ1N”), had attended the 9 p.m. university press conference and broadcast it on their radios to other ham operators, who had fanned out to area fire departments after receiving an informal alert about the emergency. … Continue reading »
The man rescued by the Berkeley Fire Department from his burning home at 1716 Ward St. on Aug. 28 died in a San Francisco hospital six days later, on Sept. 3, according to authorities.
The San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed Wednesday that James Owsley, 58, was deceased on Sept. 3. A spokesperson said the cause of death was still pending.
Owsley was taken from his home on the night of Wednesday Aug. 28 to Alta Bates Hospital by the Berkeley Fire Department, and was later transferred to the burn unit at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said the cause of the two-alarm fire, which began shortly after 8 p.m on Aug. 28, has yet to be determined.
Firefighters rescued Owsley, who was unconscious, from the rear of the building. Speaking shortly after the fire, Fire Chief Gil Dong said there was a flashover in one of the rooms while firefighters were conducting the rescue. No firefighters were injured during the incident. … Continue reading »
A 56-year-old man died in a two-alarm house fire at 2431 Oregon St. early Tuesday morning, according to authorities.
Andrew Goodwin, 56, was found in his apartment on the third floor of a house that was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Avery Webb. Goodwin was transported to Alta Bates Hospital where he died, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office. The seven other occupants of the apartment building escaped unharmed. … Continue reading »