By 11 p.m. Saturday, the fire at 2nd St. and Hearst Ave. was contained but not out and crews were still on the scene. The 40,000-square foot building that caught fire was home to several businesses including Import Tile, The Wooden Duck, Joshua Tree, and Thriving Lifestyle. The latter three businesses were completely destroyed.
The fire, which knocked out power to surrounding buildings, prompted evacuations of nearby businesses and residents.
"I came down and it's just unfortunate, that I don't know what his livelihood is going to be now," building Bill Beccarion told ABC7 News, referring to the owner of The Wooden Duck . "I mean he spent 15 years building that business up. And let's hope he can put it back together."
"We went to three alarms with Berkeley Fire Department and we went through three additional alarms within the county," explained Assistant Fire Chief Abe Ramon.
"So we have anywhere from Alameda City, Alameda County, Oakland I believe, and multiple agencies throughout Alameda County came to help us, along with counties from Cotra Costa County that came and assisted us, to staff our station," he continued.
The owner of Joshua Tree made the initial call to the fire department. The fight began with a mad dash to make sure there were no people inside the buildings. Officials say it did help that the fire occurred on a weekend because many people were not there.
The fire caused massive traffic backups in both directions along I-80 and forced the closure of the eastbound University off-ramp. It also caused Amtrak service delays, temporarily stopping service at the Emeryville and Jack London stations because of the fire hoses being run across the tracks.
The fire knocked out power in the area and at the peak of the outage, 1,500 PG&E customer were without service. Power was restored to most of the customers soon after the fire was contained and all customers were expected to have power again by midnight.
No injuries have been reported.