House destroyed by sideshow car crash

April 12, 2008 7:16:36 PM PDT
An Oakland house was destroyed this morning after two vehicles smashed into the structure around 4:20 a.m. and caused the residence to catch fire, according to officials.

A street sideshow causes a massive overnight fire, and destroyed a family's home. Heavy smoke and flames poured into the sky, after two cars lost control and plowed into the side of an Oakland house. The people inside the home escaped safely, but police say this is an example of reckless behavior, leading to disaster and a lot of heart ache for an Oakland family.

Even before this morning fire, Oakland police planned a crackdown on these sideshows. At dark, there will be extra traffic controls, and public safety officers and members of the department's critical response team. They will be out on the streets issuing citations and stopping vehicles suspected of sideshow activity. Police say the epicenter of activity is on 90th Ave, between Bancroft and International Ave, right where the accident occurred.

It's our first hot weather weekend of spring and Oakland police are gearing up tonight for more sideshows .. Where people using their cars to have fun can end up causing disaster.

early this morning, two sideshow cars plowed into a house. The people inside the home escaped safely... But police say this is an example of "reckless" behavior, leading to disaster and a lot of heart ache for an Oakland family.

Oakland's 90th avenue is the kind of neighborhood where the ice cream truck still makes the rounds, but warm weather also invites dangerous sideshows.

"When the sun goes down, you'll see cars running red lights, people hanging outside the car windows, doors open, people hanging off the roof, car weaving up and down the street going the wrong direction on the opposite lanes," says Sgt Barry Hofman of the Oakland Police Department.

Oakland police say at 4:20am Saturday morning, two sideshow cars raced right into a house where a family of eight was sleeping.

I heard a big noise, like a big impact, real loud, it woke me up, it shook me," says sideshow fire victim Steven Tupa.

Tupa ran to the front of the house and felt the second car hit the house. One of the cars struck the gas meter and fire erupted. That's when he shouted for his family to get out.

"Our primary concern was the resident of the home. We did an assessment of the home; we determined that all the residents were out of the home. Our next priority was that the victims in the vehicles were out of the car," Oakland Firefighter Lt. Chris Landry.

By then, the suspects had fled. Tupa's family escaped uninjured. All that's left of their belongings was their bibles.

"Angry, but you have to look over it. There's a blessing in every storm that comes but on the other hand for the people that stays up every night doing their little sideshow thing, they should look at it. What they do does affect other people," says Tupa.

"The city is constantly evaluating whether we need additional speed bumps and stop signs but at some point, it becomes so burdensome for the people that live here that it's a tradeoff," says Hofmann.

For the people who live here, sideshows are something you live with, and try to survive.

Right now, the Tupa family is staying in a motel and don't know what they are going to be doing next. Oakland police say they will be relying on the city's ordinance that will allow them to tow away vehicles for 30 days which are suspected of being in sideshows.


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