Oakland fire under control

June 20, 2008 11:12:20 PM PDT
A huge fire is under control in Oakland. The fire broke out at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and fire personnel worked well into the night.

Witnesses say after the fire started, they heard some propane tanks on a parking lot nearby exploding, and that's when the flames really took off.

In total, the fire destroyed five structures and five alarms sounded. Witnesses say mothers and children were crying and screaming and ran out of a church when the fires and smoke got engulfed. By 2:00 p.m., the half of the block was totally engulfed in smoke and fire.

Eighty Oakland firefighters responded. That is a huge number, and 14 more were sent in from Moraga, Emeryville and Alameda County.

There were no injuries on the fire scene, but the heat was a problem and collapsing rooftops kept it smoldering for hours.

Eight residents are homeless. They live above the commercial structures, and others lost their business and livelihood.

"This store is our dream. We wanted to make something for our kids, and now it's gone," said fire victim Maria Lopez.

"They are fairly old structures, they've been around a long time so you have some drying out. The occupancies are a church, we have a market, we have a repair shop, we have a liquor store and we have another church," said Lt. David Bruce from the Oakland Police Department.

Fire investigators are trying to determine and point a cause for the mayor urban fire. Parts of International Blvd. are still closed, and it's been closed for more than seven hours.

The fire caused some tragic loses, but no injuries were reported. The fire watch will continue until 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.


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