Category Archives: Fire

Fire

Big rig fire on I-80 west in Berkeley snarls traffic

Fire on westbound Interstate-80. Photo: Deborah Durant
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Update, 2:10 p.m. Authorities say multiple lanes of westbound Interstate 80 will remain closed for at least one more hour after a big rig trailer caught fire shortly before 1 p.m.

According to a statement issued by CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, the CHP began to receive numerous 911 calls at 12:45 p.m. that a big rig was on fire on I-80 westbound near Gilman Street in Berkeley.

Wilkenfeld said, initially, the driver of the big rig was unaware of the fire, “until other motorists began honking and getting the driver’s attention.” … Continue reading »

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15 displaced after early-morning fire in North Berkeley

12 people were displaced when a fire broke out Monday morning at 1802 Bonita Ave. Photo: David Yee
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A fire broke out at 1802 Bonita Ave. near Delaware Street around 5:06 a.m. Monday morning, displacing 15 people living in various rooms.

No-one was injured in the blaze, which sent huge flames shooting above the white, three-story Victorian-style house.

“When crews arrived they found fire and smoke coming from the third story,” said Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong. “It looked like a dormer attic space.” … Continue reading »

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Woman jumps out 3rd story window to escape fire

A woman was injured Sept. 13 when she jumped from a third story window to escape a fire that had broken out at 3144 King St.
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A woman who jumped out of an apartment building to escape a fire Saturday morning suffered serious injuries and was transported to a local trauma center, according to officials.

The Berkeley Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at 3144 King Street, between Woolsey and Fairview streets at 9:01 a.m., according to Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. The fire erupted in a hallway outside a bedroom on the third floor and created a lot of black smoke, he said.

Two women were inside the bedroom when the fire started, said Webb. One apparently tried to escape by jumping from the window to a tree, but the branch sje landed on broke and she fell three stories to the ground, said Webb. The other woman was rescued by firefighters. … Continue reading »

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1 year after devastating fire, 3 events planned for Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp

A photograph taken at the site of the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp on Aug. 28, three days after the Rim Fire swept through it. Photo: U.S. Forest Service
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The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp group is holding three fundraising events, starting on Friday August 22, to mark the first anniversary of the Rim Fire which effectively destroyed the much-loved, city-run family summer camp.

On Aug. 25, 2013, the largest recorded wildfire in the Sierra Nevada burned 92 of the Tuolumne camp’s 111 structures, including all of its main buildings.

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, the non-profit organization that supports and serves the campers of Berkeley’s Camp Tuolumne, says the goal of the events is “to bring together the families of Camp Tuolumne and to keep their camp spirit alive and well as we work together to rebuild Camp Tuolumne.” … Continue reading »

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Tuolumne Camp vs Echo Lake camp: veterans compare

Photo: Mary Flaherty
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After the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp was destroyed in the August 2013 Rim Fire, the city created a “new” family camp at its Echo Lake camp. Families who had spent summers up near Yosemite have had to adjust to the new camp high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. How do the camps compare?

Berkeleyside contributor Mary Flaherty returned recently, and, for the most part, liked the new location.

“I really wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go to Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp when I signed up,” said Flaherty. “My family had attended Tuolumne Camp for seven years and loved it more every year. We were heartbroken when it burned. Our experience at Echo Lake Camp was very different from Tuolumne – and yet the same in so many ways. “Out of body experience” my daughter called it, as we arrived in camp. I did miss the Tuolumne River a lot – but the incredible view helped make up for that. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Berkeley firefighter rescues woman from the bay

Water rescue at the Berkeley pier. Photo: Dina Becerra
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A Berkeley firefighter rescue swimmer saved a woman late Thursday afternoon after she reportedly jumped off the Berkeley Pier into the San Francisco Bay, authorities said.

The woman and a man who jumped into the bay to try to rescue her before authorities arrived were taken to the hospital for medical care.

Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said a call came in to dispatchers at 4:45 p.m. reporting people in the water at the end of the Berkeley Pier.

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Fire

Breaking: Authorities respond to fire in West Berkeley

Photo: Christine McGuinness
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UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: When Berkeley firefighters arrived on the scene of Tuesday’s fire in the 600 block of Virginia Street, they found a storage container, which had been illegally converted into a living unit, on fire, according to Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong. The fire, which was quickly extinguished, was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials that started some vegetation on fire and spread to the container, Gong said. There were no injuries and one person was displaced. Damage was limited to the container. … Continue reading »

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Building begins on site of Sequoia Apts fire on Telegraph

Walls come down
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Construction work has begun on a new, 43,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at 2441 Haste St. and Telegraph Avenue, the site of the former Sequoia Apartments that burned down in a catastrophic fire in November 2011.

The new structure will include 42 apartments on four stories, and see the return of two popular Berkeley restaurants: Raleigh’s Bar & Grill and Café Intermezzo, which will re-open at street level on Telegraph.

The new building will go some way toward addressing the blight on this particular Berkeley intersection, two of whose corners are vacant lots, with the long-vacant Cody’s bookstore space on the third.

On Wednesday last week, the property’s owner, Kenneth Ent, held an impromptu groundbreaking ceremony with family members and a construction crew to celebrate the beginning of the build. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Berkeley parking enforcement vehicle catches fire

A parking enforcement vehicle caught fire in North Berkeley on Friday morning (cropped). Photo: Shan Carter
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As much as everyone uniformly dreads the meter maid, vandals were not responsible for a fire Friday morning in North Berkeley that reportedly destroyed a parking enforcement vehicle.

Flames from the conflagration were large enough to set a tree on fire, which would have threatened a nearby apartment building at Walnut and Cedar streets, authorities said.

Deputy Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb said a parking enforcement officer had been driving the vehicle up in the Berkeley Hills and was not far from Shattuck Avenue, at about 9:10 a.m., when she smelled smoke.

“The operator was driving the vehicle, smelled smoke and stopped,” he said. “When they opened the compartment in the back, it was on fire.” … Continue reading »

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East Bay at high risk of wildfires: Preventive measures key

Angel Island wildfire. Photo: Chris Wage
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Allen Benitez, Chief of Protective Services at Berkeley Lab admits he’s nervous.

“With the drought this summer, there is an extraordinarily high risk of fire in the hills,” he said.

The Lab’s location in the Berkeley foothills, surrounded by trees and vegetation, makes the task of keeping that risk as low as possible daunting. The fact that there are 5,000 to 7,000 people on the campus at any one time, and that an evacuation would entail moving all of them off a fenced property through just one gate, puts the lab — as Benitez terms it — in “a tough spot.”

Benitez will be one of several fire experts speaking at a Fire Forum for the community on Monday June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley’s Northbrae Church. He will be joined by, among others, Berkeley Fire Department Chief Gil Dong; Robert Chew, Cal Fire’s assistant chief of East Bay operations; Sal Genito, associate director of Grounds and Environmental Services at UC Berkeley; and Brad Gallup from the East Bay Regional Parks District. … Continue reading »

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Police: West Berkeley fire caused by hashish operation

One man was taken to the hospital for treatment after a fire in West Berkeley on Tuesday night. Photo: Jef Poskanzer
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A small fire at a West Berkeley business on Tuesday evening, which sent one man to a burn center for treatment, appears to have been caused by a hashish production operation, police said Wednesday.

Very little information was available from authorities, but Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, said via email that officers responding to the fire Tuesday discovered an illegal marijuana grow and hashish production operation on-site. … Continue reading »

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4 years at least until Berkeley Tuolumne Camp is rebuilt

3/21/2014 view of California poppies along the south facing slopes above the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River. Photo by Dusty Vaughn, USFS. #RimFire — in Groveland, CA.
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“The dogwoods are in bloom.”

After last August’s Rim Fire wiped out Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp in the Sierra, that announcement at a recent gathering for campers drew a round of applause. As did the declaration by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates that, “We’re going to do everything we can do, humanly possible… and beyond humanly possible, to rebuild that camp.”

But, despite the hopeful signs of spring in the fire zone, and the commitment of local officials, it will be 2018 at least before Berkeley’s much-loved family summer camp can be rebuilt. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Breaking: Man injured in Berkeley fire on Gilman Street

One man was taken to the hospital for treatment after a fire in West Berkeley on Tuesday night. Photo: Jef Poskanzer
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A small rooftop fire in West Berkeley on Tuesday night sent one man to a San Francisco burn center for treatment, authorities said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said a caller reported flames showing from the roof of 841 Gilman St. at 6:45 p.m.

A single-alarm assignment, including four engines, a truck and an ambulance, was dispatched. Firefighters arriving to the Royal Robbins Clothing store said there were no more active flames on the roof when they got to the scene, though they did see smoke and some embers. … Continue reading »

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