Fourth of July keeps Bay Area firefighters busy

July 5, 2011 6:28:05 PM PDT
Although it's too early to say if any of the fires around the Bay Area last night were caused by illegal fireworks, Bay Area firefighters were definitely busy during the Fourth of July.

Large flames could be seen shooting from the roof of a building in Berkeley at Alcatraz Avenue and King Street after 11 p.m. Monday. Nobody was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

In Bay Point, firefighters dealt with at least half a dozen grass fires. Firefighters received several complaints about illegal fireworks going off in the area. No injuries were reported or structures were destroyed, but putting them out was a drain on resources.

"We have multiple units at each one of these incidents. The units have been very, very busy this evening. Moving units from central county all the way out to the west side and a lot of our assisting agencies, CAL FIRE, East Bay Regional Parks units are out - so we have had a lot of assistance as well," said Contra Costa County Fire Dept. Chief Daryl Louder.

A barbecue may have been to blame for fire that caused serious damage to two homes on Tradition Way in Brentwood. The call for the fire came in at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. No injuries were reported.

In Rohnert Park, the Red Cross is helping 12 families left homeless when fire swept through an apartment building. It took fire fighters more than an hour to bring the fire in the 12 unit complex on Commerce Boulevard under control Monday. Fire crews from Rohnert Park and three neighboring cities battled to control the flames. One firefighter was treated for heat-related injuries. Investigators are still trying to determine how the fire started.

Illegal fireworks decorated the skies over Oakland last night and terrorized people like Minnie Hayles, who got very little sleep.

"It was literally explosive, that's what it sounded like all around, my mother has Alzheimer's and I have a problem sleeping, forget the sleep, it was just horrible," Hayles said.

A battalion chief at the Oakland Fire Department said there were no fires or injuries related to the illegal fireworks, so they are considering the night a success.

As of late Monday night, no serious incidents involving fireworks had been reported in Oakland. But in Concord, Fourth of July celebrations sent one man to the hospital with a traumatic injury to his hand. Police say several of a 37-year-old man's fingers were severed by fireworks. It happened at Olivera Road shortly before 8 p.m. Paramedics rushed him to a nearly hospital. Information on the type of fireworks he was using has not been released.


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