One dead, one critical after house fire in Oakland


June 26, 2012 12:15:57 PM PDT
One person is dead and another in critical condition after an early-morning house fire in Oakland Tuesday.

The second man was pulled from the same area of the burning home at the same time as the man who died. It happened around 4:30 a.m. on Kingsland Avenue. Fire officials have not pinpointed the cause of the fire, but neighbors have their theories.

Hours after the flames were extinguished, Oakland firefighters were still working to keep it that way. "Our first arriving units arrived and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the house," recalled Battalion Chief Lisa Baker. Their first priority was to look for anyone inside. They found two men. "They found them on the second floor in bedrooms at which point they were both brought outside unconscious in critical condition," Bakers said.

Neighbors, who say they're not surprised, told ABC7 News that the elderly woman who used to live there died about a year ago and that the house had been foreclosed on and the power turned off, but family members were still coming and going.

"I know one of her sons. He stayed here. I haven't seen him in quite some time though," neighbor Jamey Scott said.

"If the utilities were off, I wouldn't be surprised if they had candles or something," neighbor Brian Bruning said.

Many neighbors believe some people were using drugs in the house. One man claims he was inside at the time of the fire, but investigators couldn't confirm his story. If it's true, he's lucky he got out alive. "When we arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames. So, my thought is that it was going for quite a while before anyone called the fire in," Baker said.

Investigators did find a working smoke detector inside the home.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out in about ten minutes. Despite that, the home is a total loss. Fortunately, no other homes were damaged.

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