Tag Archives: Avery Webb

Berkeley warehouse fire started accidentally; Wooden Duck not insured for content loss

The remains of the Import Tile warehouse that burned on April 12. Photo: Evelyn Larsen
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The fire that erupted in a West Berkeley warehouse on Saturday, seriously damaging or destroying numerous businesses, started accidentally, according to fire officials.

“There didn’t seem to be any indication this was a malicious fire,” said Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Avery Webb. “The investigation is ongoing but they have ruled out a malicious origin.” … Continue reading »

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‘Suspicious substance’ in Berkeley turns out to be plaster

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A report of a suspicious white substance in the 1900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way closed a central Berkeley block during a short investigation that caused alarm among neighbors and passers-by Monday evening.

The Berkeley Fire Department ultimately determined that the substance was actually plaster from a resident’s home, authorities said.

Monday at 5:36 p.m., dispatchers received a call from a man who had noticed “white powder in various places around his house,” said officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman. The man had seen the material in his side yard two days prior. … Continue reading »

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Police arrest man after ‘violent attack’ in West Berkeley

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Police arrested a 41-year-old man after he struggled with a Berkeley Police officer, tried to take his gun and jumped into the lagoon at Aquatic Park when the officer tried to detain him, authorities said Monday.

The officer received minor injuries during the altercation, and required medical treatment, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

Police initially received a call Monday at 10:30 a.m. about a man on Bolivar Drive, between Bancroft Way and Addison Street, who was trying to set a fire with some type of liquid. A caller told police the man was on his or her roof, and was pouring some type of liquid into the street and lighting it on fire, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Update: Bus fire slows I-80 traffic in Berkeley, no injuries

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Update, 6:45 p.m. Berkeley Fire Department spokesman Deputy Chief Avery Webb said the bus that caught fire Friday morning was a Storer Coachways tourist bus with 21 passengers. Webb said Berkeley firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 11:16 a.m. for a fire that affected the engine compartment of the bus. Smoke from the fire made its way into the passenger compartment, but the fire itself did not spread beyond the engine area. All the passengers on the bus had gotten off by the time firefighters arrived, and Storer quickly sent another bus to pick them up. No injuries were reported. Berkeley firefighters extinguished the fire when they arrived to the scene, on Interstate 80 between Ashby and University avenues. Webb said there were multiple helicopters in the area as emergency crews responded.

Update, 1:45 p.m. 511.org reports that there are “residual delays” on eastbound I-80 near University Avenue in Berkeley after Friday’s bus fire, but that all lanes are open as of 1:45 p.m.

Update, 1:34 p.m. Via 511.org: “On Friday, March 28th at 1:20pm, the Severe Traffic Alert remains in effect on Eastbound I-80 before University Ave. in Berkeley. The right lane is closed due to a bus fire. Motorists are advised to expect delays and avoid the area. There is no estimated time to reopen the roadway.”

Original story, 12:17 p.m. A tour bus caught fire on Interstate 80 near University Avenue in Berkeley on Friday morning, and a traffic advisory has been issued due to closed lanes on the highway, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Man drives van into bay near Berkeley, crawls to safety

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A man who accidentally drove his van into the San Francisco Bay near HS Lordships restaurant in Berkeley just after midnight Friday managed to get back to land before authorities arrived to save him.

Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said Friday that the man, who appeared to be in his 60s, had been parked facing the water toward San Francisco around midnight when the accident occurred.

“As he went to back out, he lost control of the vehicle and made several circles in reverse before going over the side of the embankment into the water,” Webb said.

Authorities in Berkeley received a call about the accident at 12:03 a.m. Dispatchers sent out a “water rescue” team after a vehicle was reported to be in the water off Seawall Drive. Berkeleyside broke the news of the accident on Twitter at 12:06 a.m.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Sauna closed temporarily, 6 displaced after fire

A fire in the 1900 block of Milvia Street caused extensive damage Saturday. Photo: Joshua Schoolfield
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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 »

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Think you can hear Berkeley Police online? Think again

For most people, hearing Berkeley Police traffic on the radio has gone out of range. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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 »

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Gusty winds in Berkeley keep fire crews on high alert

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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 »

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Firefighters respond to 2 building blazes in Berkeley

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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 »

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Berkeley floor furnace, carpet fire causes minor damage

Berkeley Fire Department is also at the scene of the police operation near the intersection of Addison and Jefferson. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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 »

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Good Samaritans recount Berkeley train amputation

A man lost his leg in a train accident Monday at Gilman Street in Berkeley. Image: Google Maps
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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 »

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Man loses leg in train accident at Gilman St. in Berkeley

The Union Pacific railroad crossing at Gilman. Photo: Google Maps
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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 »

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Solano County fire blankets Berkeley with smoke

Says reader Martha McEvoy, who shared this photograph: "Usually the hills are way easier see."
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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 »

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