Category Archives: Fire

Fire in Berkeley apartment building displaces around 30

Fire on Shattuck at Delaware on April 26, 2016. Photo: @panellington/Twitter
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Update, April 27: BFD says the rough monetary value of the damage caused by the fire and burst water pipe is $100,000. BFD also confirmed that they went back to the apartment building later on the night of April 26 to handle “a small amount of burning material in the attic.”

Original story: Approximately 30 residents of an apartment building on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Delaware Street in Berkeley were displaced Tuesday evening following a fire and subsequent water damage, according to authorities. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley first responders join parade in Dublin, Ireland

Berkeley first responders march in the St. Patrick Day's Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2016. Photo: courtesy Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken
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Members of the Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire departments traveled to Ireland last week at the invitation of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who wished to thank the first responders for the way they handled the tragic balcony collapse at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, that killed six and injured seven students, most of them Irish.

The first responders traveled to Ireland with the San Francisco Police Emerald Society on their scheduled trip. According to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, the Berkeley ranks were made up of three personnel who responded to the balcony collapse, and three who assisted the families and Consulate in the days following the incident. Those who went were: Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, Fire Captain Rick Guzman, Fire Captain Dave McPartland, firefighter/paramedic Ashley Bacher, and police officers Jennifer Coats, Stephanie Polizziani and Jitendra Singh.

Read more about the June 16, 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse.

McCracken said the Berkeley delegation was “treated like dignitaries.” “We had a police escort to our hotel and to the start of the parade on St. Patrick’s Day,” she wrote by email. “On Tuesday night, the day we arrived, we attended a reception at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We were hosted by David Cooney, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, and Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of Diaspora Affairs. We also met the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh.” … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Gunfire in South Berkeley, fire on University

Fire in the 1700 block of University. Photo: Kevin Hobbs
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Update, 9:45 p.m. In other breaking news, BART service has stopped in Berkeley due to a person on the tracks between the MacArthur and Ashby stations. A major power outage also hit West Berkeley on Sunday night. Tune in to Berkeleyside’s Facebook page and Twitter for updates. (Accounts are not needed to view the pages.)

Update, 8:38 p.m. Police confirmed that the information that follows is accurate regarding the shooting. No victims have been identified at this time, and no arrests have been made. Said Lt. Alyson Hart, watch commander, “We are still piecing together what may have happened.”

Regarding the fire, eastbound University was closed between Grant Street and Jefferson Avenue as a result of that response. Motorists were advised to find another route.

Original post, 8:15 p.m. First responders have been busy Sunday night despite the wet weather, with gunshots reported in South Berkeley and a structure fire on University Avenue.

Reports about the gunfire are preliminary, as Berkeleyside is waiting for official news from authorities. The fire is under control and at least two people have been displaced. One person was taken to the hospital after the fire for medical care.

According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, police were called in the 2800 block of McGee Avenue, near Oregon and Russell streets, shortly after 6 p.m. for multiple reports of gunfire.

There were numerous calls about at least one male seen with a gun. Witnesses reported several people running away from the block, and police detained at least two people at about 6:10 p.m. and were looking for others who may have been connected. (They were not arrested, BPD said later.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Fire responds to blaze at central Berkeley home

Photo: Daniel McPartlan
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Firefighters responded to a house fire in the early hours of Sunday in the 2500 block of Grant Street, at Blake Street, in central Berkeley.

It caused an estimated $250,000 worth of damage to the structure and contents, forced the relocation of the home’s single occupant, and has left the man’s cat missing.

According to Interim Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, first- and second-alarm assignments were dispatched to the three-story, single-family home on the corner of Grant and Blake streets after a call came in at 5:36 a.m. The fire broke out on the first floor on the Blake Street side of the home and spread to the second floor.  “Occupants were outside on our arrival,” McCracken said. “[There were] no injuries to civilians or firefighters.” … Continue reading »

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2-alarm fire strikes Berkeley home by animal hospital

There's a house fire on Haste in Berkeley between Shattuck and Ellsworth. Photo: mburkhartsmeyer
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Authorities are responding to a house fire on Haste Street in Berkeley, between Fulton Street and Shattuck Avenue.

The Berkeley Police Department has closed the road between Ellsworth Street and Shattuck and is asking people to avoid the area.

Scroll down for dramatic photos and video from the scene, and updates.

Berkeleyside began getting reports about the fire at 11:22 a.m. We have called the Fire Department and will update this post when additional information becomes available.

Update, 11:53 a.m. Interim Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the fire, in the 2100 block of Haste, is still in progress and has been upgraded to a second-alarm assignment.

No one was reported to be in the building, a single-family home, when the fire broke out, she said. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:15 a.m.

McCracken noted that there is a veterinary hospital next door: “We’re working with them to make sure conditions in their building stay safe.”

Haste is closed between Fulton and Shattuck, and Fulton is closed up to Channing Way.

Update, 4:30 p.m. McCracken said the home appeared to be unoccupied at the time of the fire, which was declared under control at 12:20 p.m. No injuries to firefighters or civilians were reported.  … Continue reading »

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Partying at UC Berkeley may have just gotten harder

A large crowd of Halloween revelers gathered on Channing Way, near Piedmont Avenue, in Berkeley, late Saturday. Photo: David Yee
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Citing a riot on Halloween and three alcohol-related deaths near the UC Berkeley campus in recent years, Berkeley officials approved new rules Tuesday night to address rowdy parties and other problems associated with group housing widely used by students.

About 15 Cal students, including representatives from governance group the Associated Students of the University of California, asked the Berkeley City Council to amend or vote down the proposal. They said it unfairly targets students, could lead to more evictions, and was unnecessary because they can regulate themselves.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage about drinking at Cal.

Miranda Hernandez, director of Greek affairs for an ASUC senator, told council the new rules would inappropriately micromanage students in their bedrooms, and would put students “at greater risk” because they would no longer want to call police and fire services for help, for “fear that they will be labeled a public nuisance.” She said there could be fewer reports and more deaths “because we will be afraid to call.”

About as many older Southside neighbors — some of whom described themselves as “year-round residents” — pleaded with council to adopt the new rules, citing frequent issues with noise, trash, loud music and the heavy use of the city’s first responders who are called to address those problems.

“Our community pays the price night after night, week after week, endangering our citizens and using precious public safety resources,” longtime resident Phil Bokovoy told council. “There is no will for the university to solve the problem.” … Continue reading »

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City worker sent to hospital after garbage truck accident

Preliminary reports indicate that a Berkeley garbage truck was involved in a traffic incident Monday. Image: Google Maps
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Update, Jan. 12, 11 a.m. The worker, identified as Johnny Tolliver, has died. Tolliver, who had worked for Berkeley for 25 years. The city lowered its flags to half-staff in his honor Tuesday. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Original story, 2:43 p.m. A city worker was taken to the hospital after a municipal garbage truck may have pinned him against a tree in the Berkeley Hills on Monday afternoon when its brakes went out, according to preliminary reports.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Monday at about 2 p.m. that the incident remains under investigation, and that he could only confirm that a worker was taken to the hospital. Chakko was not able to provide any additional details.

Berkeleyside reviewed scanner audio recordings to find out more. The information that follows is unconfirmed. This story will be updated if the city provides additional information.

The Berkeley Fire Department was dispatched early Monday afternoon to 90 Parnassus Road for a report of an individual who was initially pinned in place by what was later determined to be a city of Berkeley garbage truck.  … Continue reading »

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Man killed in fire after Berkeley firefighters were blocked from entering because house was crammed with stuff

A Berkeley man was killed in a fire on Acton Street on Dec. 27. Photo: Lee Fenyves
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A 78-year-old Berkeley man was killed in a fire Sunday morning and he might have died because he hoarded so much stuff that firefighters could not enter his home, according to officials.

The Fire Department was notified of a blaze in a home at 2817 Acton St. between Oregon and Russell streets at 4:47 a.m. on Dec. 27, according to Interim Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken. Flames were shooting out of the home’s windows when firefighters arrived at the scene.

The Fire Department received word that a person was still in the building.

“Fire Department personnel went into ‘rescue mode’ with the intent to enter, rapidly search and remove any victims they can locate,” McCracken wrote in an email. “However, crews were blocked from entering the building by excessive storage throughout the home, including up against the doors. Crews were eventually able to enter after much effort and locate the victim, who had perished.”

The man was Billy Carroll, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.

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Tenants struggle after fire at Chandler building

The Chandler building fire in Southside Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman
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When a fire tore through 2449 Dwight Way the Sunday before Thanksgiving, about 30 tenants were displaced and the property owner was saddled with around $1 million in damages. The Nov. 22 disaster has brought to light what can happen in Berkeley in the aftermath of a destructive fire.

The displaced tenants describe two weeks dominated by confusion and uncertainty. After fleeing the building, which is known as the Chandler, the residents scattered, finding refuge in friends’ homes and at the Durant Hotel. The Red Cross provided some immediate financial assistance.

”Things were happening in a whirlwind,” said tenant Owen Hill. “Many of us went to a hotel because we expected it to be covered. We didn’t get solid information because we were in a panic.”

The tenants say they received conflicting information from the Rent Board about what kind of assistance they were entitled to immediately and in the long run, causing uncertainty about what kind of housing to seek. (A crowd-funding campaign set up to help the displaced has so far raised just $65.) … Continue reading »

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Fire destroys downtown Berkeley restaurant

Firefighters fight a fire at the Mandarin Garden restaurant, in Berkeley, on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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UPDATE, Dec. 22: As of Dec. 22, the Berkeley Fire Department had not concluded its investigation into the Mandarin Garden fire. The property has been released back into the hands of its owners, but the restaurant was completely destroyed, and the two neighboring businesses, Patelco Credit Union and Venus Café, remain closed due to damage caused when fighting the fire.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Berkeley Fire Department responded to two fires at the Mandarin Garden restaurant at 2025 Shattuck Ave. (at University) Friday morning.

The second, two-alarm fire, which gutted the restaurant, was significant enough to require evacuations from nearby properties, but was mostly under control around 7:30 a.m.

According to Berkeley Fire Battalion Chief Brian Harryman, the second fire appears to have started in a different area of the building from the first one which BFD had determined they had extinguished.

Both the Patelco Credit Union and shuttered Ichiban restaurant that are on either side of Mandarin Garden suffered serious damage. A new restaurant called Venus Café, that was due to open in about a week in the Ichiban location, will now take months to repair, according to its co-owner, Peter Kwong. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Dwight Way fire may have caused $1M in damage

Firefighters climbed onto the roof to fight a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue, on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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A fire in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood on Sunday may have caused $1 million in damage, authorities said this week.

The fire, at 2449 Dwight Way in the Chandler apartment building, appears to have started in a fourth-floor unit on the west side of the building, then spread to the attic. Acting Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb said the fire appears likely to have been accidental, based on the preliminary investigation. The investigation is, however, ongoing.

About 30 people were displaced as a result of the fire, either staying with supporters or receiving help from the Red Cross for temporary housing. A representative from the Red Cross said Wednesday it is assisting 26 people, and that the agency is still working to determine the short- and long-term needs of those individuals.

One person had to be carried out of the building by firefighters and was treated at a hospital, but was released Sunday evening. In addition, two cats are reported to have perished in the Dwight Way fire. A third cat was rescued by firefighters and survived the blaze. … Continue reading »

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Two fires hit West Berkeley and Southside

Firefighters transfer a victim to a gurney during a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue. Photo: David Yee
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Emilie Raguso

Update: Nov. 23, 8:55 a.m. About 30 people were displaced from their apartments Sunday night after a fire ripped through the Chandler apartment complex at 2449 Dwight Way.

The fire was one of two that struck Berkeley within 15 minutes, prompting the Berkeley Fire Department to call in mutual aid from Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito and the Alameda County Fire Department, according to Avery Webb, Berkeley’s interim fire chief.

Both fires went to two alarms – something that Webb said he had never remembered happening before.

“We were stretched pretty thin trying to manage both incidents at the same time,” said Webb. “To have two second-alarm fires at the same time is extremely rare. It’s pretty unusual.” … Continue reading »

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Fire

West Berkeley fire causes $100,000 in damage

The Berkeley Fire Department responded to an apartment fire Monday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley Fire Department responded Monday to an apartment fire on University Avenue that caused $100,000 in damage.

Interim Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb said the fire department received a report just before 10:40 a.m. of a water-flow alarm from the fire suppression system at 1122 University, just east of San Pablo Avenue.

The city dispatched a single-alarm assignment for a possible structure fire.

When firefighters got to the 5-story building — four stories of residential over ground-floor commercial — they found light smoke on the fourth floor, and water flowing from under an apartment door.  … Continue reading »

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