Three-alarm Oakland fire started in building courtyard

June 9, 2013 12:50:19 PM PDT
A three-alarm fire on the 2500 block of 73rd Avenue in Oakland that spread to two nearby buildings started in a pile of belongings left over from a rummage sale held on Saturday, according to a fire official.

The fire was first reported in a commercial building at 2544 73rd Ave. around 4:40 p.m., Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said.

Firefighters arriving on the scene found the building fully involved in flames.

Strong winds at the scene sent embers flying through the air, sparking additional structure fires in the attic of single-family home and a shed on the 2500 block of 74th Avenue, Baker said.

A wall collapsed during the fire, but Baker said by that point firefighters had already moved into a defensive attack, working only from the outside of the building, after determining that the building's roof was unsafe.

All three affected buildings were found to be vacant and no injuries were reported.

The building where the fire started is a "complete loss," Baker said. The single-family home sustained extensive damage, while the shed sustained damage to an exterior wall, Baker said.

Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said the fire appears to have started in a fence courtyard in a pile of belongings that were left over from a community rummage sale held earlier in the day.

It spread into palm trees in the courtyard, and the trees in turn began sending out embers that spread the fire, Drayton said.

Two men were seen tidying up from the rummage sale shortly before the fire started, but it is unclear if they are connected. Investigators have not yet determined what first ignited the fire, Drayton said.


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