Investigators seek cause of large Berkeley fire

November 19, 2011 7:15:58 PM PST
A five-alarm fire in an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley that started Friday night was still considered an active fire as of Saturday afternoon, fire officials said.

City officials have red-tagged the five-story, 39-unit building at 2441 Haste Street, saying it is unsafe to enter. The intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Haste remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians and could remain closed into next week, officials said.

The fire, first reported at 8:48 p.m. Friday night, went to a fifth alarm at 9:32 p.m. spread throughout the building, Berkeley fire Chief Sabina Imrie said. It was not contained until 3:19 a.m.

The fire had commercial space on the first floor and residential units in the upper floors. Businesses contained in the building include the long-time Telegraph fixture Cafe Intermezzo and Raleigh's Bar and Grill. Residents were evacuated and no injuries have been reported. No firefighters were injured, Imrie said.

Many residents found housing quickly, and the Red Cross was on hand to assist those who needed help in finding housing. Residents of the building are being urged to call (510) 981-5900 and provide their name, phone number and apartment unit number, so that the city can evaluate and coordinate their needs with the Red Cross and the University.

Displaced residents can also call the Red Cross directly at (510) 595-4441.

Several agencies assisted in tackling the fire, including firefighters from Alameda County, Alameda, Albany and Oakland, according to the fire chief.

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