Tag Archives: Avery Webb
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 »
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 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 »
Authorities say two good Samaritans who sprung into action after a train accident took a man’s lower leg Monday morning may well have saved his life.
The accident happened at about 10:40 a.m. Sean Stallmeyer, 29, of Richmond said he and his girlfriend were driving toward Target when they stopped for the southbound Union Pacific train to pass. As the gates came down to halt traffic, Stallmeyer said he saw a man with a shopping cart standing between the north- and southbound tracks.
“I told my girl, ‘This guy is going to get hit,’” he said Friday morning. The man appeared to be trying to get across the tracks, and seemed to have cleared them. But he didn’t make it far enough. “The arms came down. I think he just froze. The force of the train just knocked him over. He tumbled down. He must have just fallen underneath the train.” … Continue reading »
A man who was struck by a train Monday at the Union Pacific railroad crossing at Gilman Street in West Berkeley lost his leg as a result, authorities said.
Few details have been available from officials so far this week.
Berkeleyside readers alerted us to the incident, reporting “a very large number” of Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire vehicles at the train tracks at Gilman on Monday morning, and said the roadway was closed down in both directions.
Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said, in a written statement, that Berkeley firefighters were called to the scene at about 10:40 a.m. Monday for a report of a man who had been struck by a train at Gilman. The man lost a leg in the accident and was taken to the Trauma Center at Highland Hospital for medical care. An update on his condition was not available Tuesday afternoon. … 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 »
Pest control workers on Friday excavated three old containers under a North Berkeley home, one of which was labeled “deadly poison,” authorities said.
The exterminators were doing termite work under a home near Colusa Avenue and Thousand Oaks Boulevard on Friday afternoon when they came across the vessels buried in the soil, said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb.
“There’s no telling how long they had been down there in the dirt,” said Webb. “They dug up the jars and they were intact. They weren’t leaking.” … Continue reading »
A fire in the 1400 block of Curtis Street has burned at least 70% of a home’s interior, according to Interim Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. The Berkeley Fire Department received reports of the structure fire at 10:18 a.m. Tuesday, and a single-alarm assignment was sent to handle it.
The fire started on the lower level of the two-story building, and caused significant damage to the lower, second and attic levels, causing firefighters to have to open up the roof. … Continue reading »
Update, Aug. 12: Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb told Berkeleyside in late June that, counter to comments made to this story, the involved automobile was not “an old poorly conditioned vehicle: It was late 90s, fairly old, but in really good condition inside and out.” The driver had pulled into the garage, then noticed white smoke coming from the hood after getting out of the car. The driver went to open the hood and, as soon as she pulled the release, she saw black smoke and flames. Someone else called the fire department immediately and, just as firefighters were arriving, there were enough flames to activate the sprinkler system.
Webb said the driver was an elderly woman who had a friend in the passenger seat, and that the fire department was called right away: “They didn’t leave the building to go shopping. It wasn’t a negligent activity.”
There were so many firefighters on scene, he said, because it was a residential structure.
Webb said an issue related to the electrical wires likely caused the fire, and that it appeared to be a mechanical malfunction. He also noted that, because it did not appear any crime had been committed, the ultimate cause is left to be determined privately between the vehicle owner and the insurance company.
Generally speaking, he said, people who notice smoke coming from a car while still behind the wheel should park in an outside area away from other hazards, such as trees or power lines. It’s good to be away from traffic, he said, but ultimately it depends on the conditions around when the incident takes place.
Original story, June 24: Authorities closed the roadway to through-traffic Friday evening on Martin Luther King Jr. Way at University Avenue when a car fire broke out in the parking structure at Trader Joe’s in Berkeley.
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said Sunday, via email, that the cause of the fire has not yet been determined. … Continue reading »
Authorities are investigating a series of fires that appear to have been set in dry brush and foliage outside homes on, or near, The Alameda.
A Berkeleyside reader tipped us off to the incidents, which occurred on May 19. He said he learned about them when a friend posted the following comment on a neighborhood website: ”Yesterday I learned that 5 houses on The Alameda and Hopkins St. that had large trees growing close to the house, were set afire. Friend of a friend woke to the sound of what she thought was rain only to smell smoke, look outside and see the tree on fire. She called 911 and was outside with a hose but noticed that the fire department was 5 houses down dousing another fire.… They do not know if it is an individual or group doing this but for those with trees close to their houses having a hose already hooked up sounds like a good idea plus staying alert.” … Continue reading »
As the weather heats up — the National Weather Service is predicting that the temperature will hit 87 degrees by Thursday – officials have issued a Red Flag Warning for the East Bay Hills for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The wind is expected to pick up speed around 6:00 p.m. today, with heavy gusts of up to 50 mph possible by early Wednesday morning. The strong winds should last until 6 p.m. May 1.
The official fire season in Berkeley hasn’t started yet, but the fire department is taking extra precautions in anticipation of the heat and wind, according to Avery Webb, interim deputy fire chief and public information officer. Firefighters have been asked to check their wildland firefighting gear and put it in their vehicles, he said. … Continue reading »