Massive Fire Engulfs Emeryville Building For Second Time in 10 Months

Less than one year after going up in flames, a building under construction along the Oakland-Emeryville border caught fire once again early Saturday.

Firefighters from multiple agencies responded to the five-alarm blaze, which broke out around 5:00 a.m. at 3800 San Pablo Ave. in Emeryville, according to Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Zoraida Diaz. Emergency crews contained the wind-aided blaze at around 7:15 a.m., and no injuries were reported.

[BAY BW STRINGER]5-Alarm Fire Engulfs Building Under Construction in East Bay

Liz Briggs-Fandek, who lives one block from the burned building, said "the sky was completely red with embers."

"(Firefighters) woke us up at 5 (a.m.) and saved our life," she said. "All we saw was red out the window. We really thought our house was going to burn down."

Keith Alcorn of Oakland was awestruck by the red and orange glow lighting up the early morning sky.

"It looked like it was summertime out here," he said. "It was that lit and the flames were flying so high that they were flying over (Interstate) 580."

While the fire is contained, crews will remain on scene through Sunday morning to extinguish any hot spots if necessary and dismantle a large crane in the building that was badly damaged by the flames, according to Diaz. There is concern the crane may fall.

At least 35 people in the area have been evacuated as a precaution while crews monitor the stability of the crane. The number of people who have to leave the area may go up, Alameda County fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

Three adjacent townhomes were impacted by the fire, according to Diaz. At least one family living in one of those townhomes was displaced, and the other two townhomes were not occupied at the time of fire.

Back in July of 2016, a six-alarm fire ripped through the same building where 105 apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial space were being built. A five-alarm blaze 10 months later is raising questions.

"It's interesting," Diaz said. "We don't know if it was intentional because it's still under investigation. When they complete the investigation, we'll be able to determine exactly where the fire started and if it was suspicious."

Rick Hollander, the property's developer, believes someone may have intentionally set the most recent blaze.

Due to crews investigating the fire and keeping an eye on the crane, several streets in the area are temporarily closed.

Emeryville police said San Pablo Avenue is closed between 37th and 40th streets. Adeline Street between 36th Street and Yerba Buena Avenue is closed as is all westbound traffic on West MacArthur Boulevard, Apgar Street and 39th Street from Market Street. All eastbound travel on West MacArthur Boulevard at Emery Street is prohibited. Police did not say when the roads will reopen.

Firefighters from the Oakland, Emeryville and Alameda County fire departments responded to the scene. No firefighters were injured during the fight.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Contact Us