Firefighters and ATF working to determine cause of Oakland structure fire

ByAmy Hollyfield and Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Friday, July 26, 2019
Oakland firefighters, ATF investigate fire at building under construction
Fire has destroyed another residential building under construction in Oakland. Firefighters are still looking for the cause, but the property owner thinks it may be arson.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Fire investigators and the ATF are investigating another fire at a residential building under construction in the East Bay.

As of 4pm Friday, fire investigators told ABC7 News' Melanie Woodrow the origin of the fire is inside, towards the front of the building. But the cause is still under investigation.

The fire happened Thursday night around 10 p.m. at 925 Stanford Avenue in Oakland.

As flames raged at the Oakland residential building under construction, Nate Lampton grabbed his cell phone to record video.

His wife had a different idea.

"Took one look outside the door saw the flames and was like I'm going to pack," Jen Lampton said.

"By the time I came outside it was 15 minutes later I could already see the building again," she continued.

RELATED: 2-alarm fire burns at least 4 homes under construction in Hayward

By Friday morning, two things were clear to fire investigators combing for clues.

"As of now we have no known cause, as of now we have no known origin," said Demond Simmons, the Oakland Battalion Chief.

Fire investigators are receiving assistance from the ATF for good reason.

"That's sort of a normal practice here in the city of Oakland with the recent fires we've had with buildings under construction," Simmons said.

Since 2012, there have been at least eight large fires at housing projects from Concord to Emeryville.

The owner of the building that caught fire Thursday night is at a loss for why.

"It's just very frustrating and sad," Tony Wilson said.

RELATED: Fires at 2 Oakland construction sites under investigation

Wilson says he was converting an old print shop to seven live work units.

"There were much bigger projects than this."

He's hoping surveillance cameras will provide answers. The person who has access to them is in in New York.

Wilson also wants investigators to find a man his crew saw leaving the building Thursday night.

"He ironically asked for a match to light a cigarette."

Meantime, the Lamptons are glad they didn't have to leave home.

"It's a vibrant great place to live," Nate Lampton said.

There are no injuries. Embers from the fire did result in two additional small fires in the area according to Simmons.