Update, 11:20 p.m. An elderly man was found dead inside a home that caught fire in the 1700 block of Eighth Street on Wednesday night, according to Assistant Berkeley Fire Chief Keith May.
Firefighters located the man after they knocked down the flames just before 9:30 p.m. and entered the structure for an inspection. May said the man who died is a “known resident” of the home, based on what neighbors told firefighters.
May couldn’t confirm the man’s name, and said the fire department has turned over the case to Berkeley police.
He said it’s too early to know the cause of the fire. One fire unit will remain at the scene to monitor hotspots, and structural engineers will return to the scene in the morning to assess the cause.
The blaze did not spread to neighboring structures, but the roof collapsed in the home where the fire broke out and there is major damage to the structure. No one else was injured in the fire, according to May.
Original story: A fire broke out Wednesday night at a house in the 1700 block of Eighth Street in West Berkeley. Details are scant at the time of publication. Berkeleyside has reached out to the Berkeley Fire Department for information but has not yet heard back.
Readers shared photos that showed significant flames and smoke from the conflagration that could be seen from miles around.
Shortly before 9 p.m., according to radio traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the fire was classified as a one-alarm call, which is the basic response to a fire, and usually includes two pumper trucks, a rescue unit, a ladder truck and a chief to supervise the response.
A neighbor who asked to remain anonymous told Berkeleyside a man was living in the house, and expressed concern for his safety.
In January 2018, Berkeleyside reported on another fire at the the two-story Victorian house at the same address. That fire displaced longtime resident Dennis Eimoto and killed his dog. At the time, neighbors expressed sympathy and concern for Eimoto, who was raised in the 1898-era home, but said the fire may have been the culmination of a years-long decline and they described it as a “hoarder house.” Eimoto himself suspected arson.
— Steve Kromer (@haystacker77) November 19, 2020
We will provide updates when we have them.