FROM THE ARCHIVE: A look back at devastating Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991

ByJustin Mendoza KGO logo
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Inside the flames: Raw video from the 1991 East Bay Hills firestorm
VIDEO: This months marks the 29th anniversary of the catastrophic Oakland Hills firestorm. It burned thousands of homes taking 25 lives. ABC7 takes a look at scenes from October 1991.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- This month marks the 29th anniversary of the devastating Oakland Hills wildfire in Alameda County.

More than 1,500 firefighters and 450 engines from Northern California battled the catastrophic blaze which burned 1,500 acres and destroyed 3,354 structures, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The fire started on private property on the Oakland-Berkeley Hills on Saturday, Oct. 19, 1991. But smoldering remnants and strong winds caused the inferno the following day.

RELATED: 'Memory that doesn't go away': Flashbacks of deadly Oakland Hills fire surface entering weekend of 'high' fire danger

Renamed by CAL FIRE as the Tunnel Fire, it is the third deadliest wildfire in California history with 25 lives lost, including a battalion chief and police officer, according to FEMA. 150 people were injured.

Investigators say a five-year drought, low humidity, the Diablo winds and limited water supply were additional risk factors, according to FEMA. The fire storm cost $1.5 billion in damages.

In this installment of "From the Archives," ABC7 News takes a look back as fire fighters and even residents came together to save homes on the Oakland Hills.

You can watch scenes captured by our KGO-TV photographers from October 20, 1991 in the video player above.