Crews Remain on Scene of Berkeley Construction Fire

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Firefighters in Berkeley are still on the scene Sunday of a six-alarm fire that burned through an apartment building under construction Saturday night.

Water poured onto the building on University Avenue near Shattuck Avenue a day after flames tore through the apartments.

A neighbor shot cell phone video after she smelled the smoke. It’s a sight she won’t forget.

“It was like fire, huge flames coming out and then they tried to water it,” she said. “It goes down and then it goes up again. It’s up and down again.”

She said her power also went off.

The blaze forced Berkeley Fire to call in help from other departments, and it took hours to douse the flames. Some surrounding apartments and buildings were evacuated.

“There is still active fire deep in the middle of the building that makes it difficult for us to get to,” said Keith May of the Berkeley Fire Department. He said inspectors are coming to asses the buildings on both sides of the one that burned.

“So there is water damage to that building, especially to that apartment complex, and we want to make sure that it is safe for firefighting efforts and also for the public before we will allow them back,” May said.

The Red Cross said it helped 21 people with hotels. It appears other developments, including an affordable housing project, were not impacted. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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