Category Archives: Fire
The city of Berkeley has brought back its popular “free dumpster” program to turn a neighborhood desire for free garbage hauling into a passion for disaster preparedness activities.
To increase community participation in disaster planning and public safety, neighborhoods that regularly collaborate with the city’s emergency planning programs will be eligible to reserve a 16-cubic-yard dumpster without a fee. … Continue reading »
The San Jose-based construction company that employed a man killed during a work-related accident last August in Berkeley has been fined more than $20,000 for two related safety violations authorities said led to the man’s death.
The state Division of Occupational Safety & Health, OSHA, concluded its five-month investigation into the man’s death Jan. 30, Berkeleyside learned Wednesday.
OSHA issued two citations totaling $23,200 to the Robert A. Bothman Construction in connection with the alleged safety violations, which include not keeping under “positive control” the three-axle dump truck that crushed 62-year-old Oscar Marquez of Livermore on Aug. 27 while he was working on the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School track renovation project. … Continue reading »
A two-alarm fire over the weekend in the Milvia Street building occupied by a popular Berkeley spa caused up to $100,000 in damage, temporarily closed the operation and displaced six residents, authorities said Monday.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, just after noon, the Berkeley Fire Department responded to a report of “black smoke coming out of the windows” at 1947 Milvia St., a two-story building just north of University Avenue with apartments over commercial spaces, said Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb via email.
Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building. A working fire was declared, and the incident was upgraded to a two-alarm assignment, said Webb. It took approximately 40 minutes to bring the fire under control. … Continue reading »
In recent months, Berkeleyside has heard from multiple residents who still believe they can listen to what’s happening with local police calls on their phones or online.
Said one, in response to an email alert that went out to a neighborhood group in January, which listed a previously active online channel as a good resource: “I have … been tuned into the internet scanner feed given out in the email. I have not heard one thing. Perhaps I have not tuned in and listened long enough to hear any calls come over the airways.”
Other readers have said they use a cell phone app to tune in, or suggested various web links, in response to crime stories Berkeleyside has posted. Wrote one on Facebook last year: “Anyone can listen in to the BPD and BFD radio feeds,” which was followed by a link to a site that hosts scanner chatter.
But, in fact, Berkeley frequencies are now part of a regional “trunked” system, which means members of the public can no longer hear them via the means that may be easiest. (Very limited Berkeley Fire Department broadcasts are still available online, but do not represent all the department’s traffic.)
In December, Berkeleyside made the $400+ investment to purchase a scanner to monitor local frequencies to help track important public safety incidents for our readers. It’s already led to exclusive reports on several local crime stories. … Continue reading »
Gusty winds in Berkeley today brought down trees on both Henry Street and Bonita Avenue this morning, and the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from 10 p.m. tonight to 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, with local gusts expected up to 25 m.p.h.
According to the Berkeley Fire Department, the winds call for heightened alertness of fire danger, particularly in the East Bay hills.
“We are aware of the wind, and because of the dryness of the year we’ve had, we still have a hazardous fire season in effect,” Avery Webb, deputy chief in the Berkeley Fire Department, said. “In a normal year, within the first two weeks of November we generally declare a close to fire season.”
Webb said that the fire season has never extended so late since he joined the department in 1985. … Continue reading »
A man on the tracks closed the downtown Berkeley BART station for about 20 minutes Sunday, authorities reported.
BART Police received a report of a person on the tracks in front of the Fremont-bound train at about 2:10 p.m. Sunday, said Lt. Steve Coontz, via email.
Coontz said officers were on the scene within a few minutes, and found a 55-year-old man. He was conscious and able to answer questions. … Continue reading »
Update, 3:50 p.m. Eight people are at least temporarily without homes after their building in the 2500 block of Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley caught fire Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said firefighters were dispatched just before 2:30 p.m. for a report of a fire in a basement at 2526 Shattuck.
As it turns out, the building has no basement. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke pouring out of the attic space of the two-story building. Due to the building’s “balloon construction” — which is known for its lack of “fire breaks” inside — they believed the fire would spread quickly, said Webb. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Police are on the scene after an injury collision between a driver and two parked cars in South Berkeley shortly before 1 a.m., authorities said.
Police are investigating whether drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the wreck, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman officer Jennifer Coats.
Coats said police received a call at 12:53 a.m. about an injury collision in the 1500 block of Alcatraz Avenue. … Continue reading »
It was her first week as a 2013 freshman at UC Berkeley when Sarah Jones witnessed a fellow student being rushed to the 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 »