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Three-alarm fire burns multiple structures in Oakland

Firefighters have put out a 3-alarm fire that burned multiple structures in Oakland.
Monday, August 18, 2014
A huge fire in an abandoned warehouse in Oakland is finally out, but not before it damaged two other buildings and sent a firefighter to the hospital. The five hour battle was made even worse when the fire damaged nearby electric and natural gas lines.

The fire lit up the night sky and jumped from building to building. Oakland firefighters tried to get aggressive, but struggled out of the gate when 8 or 9 engines all tried to get water from the same water main.

"We did have problems with the water pressure. We had numerous engines trying to get water out of hydrants at the same time. So we did call East Bay MUDD, they responded quickly and upped the pressure for us," said Oakland Fire Dept. Batt. Chief Lisa Baker.

And that wasn't even the biggest challenge. Then they had to deal with the dangers of a live wire falling to the ground.

"The flames at one point were as high as the power line and caught the fire line on fire, which caused the power line to fall," said Baker.

One man who was trying to save his dogs from the yard next door saw the power line fall.

"I was only in danger when the wire came down. It did hit one of the firemen and I was pretty close to it, but they got us out of there pretty quickly," said Phineas Alexander, witness.

The firefighter is being treated for minor injuries at the hospital.

Alexander also managed to save his guard dogs. Firefighters say the fire started in an abandoned camper shell on San Leandro Street in Oakland. It spread to an abandoned carpet retailer, then to another warehouse and then to a home. The Red Cross helped relocate the four adult residents. A dog in that home died in the fire. Firefighters are still trying to figure out the fire's cause.

"There was report of squatters in the area, but as I mentioned previously, the original cause of the fire was an outside camper shell next to the carpet depot," said Baker.

The fire triggered an outage that impacted close to 6,000 PG&E customers, as of 11 a.m. only 29 customers were still without power.
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