Man dies in fire at Oakland homeless encampment near highway

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Yellow tape surrounds a sea of charred debris, including the blackened outline of a wooden structure at a large homeless encampment underneath Interstate 980 in West Oakland. That's where a man died Monday morning.

"I just heard popping and things exploding. That's what woke me up," said Shawn Moses, who lives in the wooden shanty next to the one that burned.

Oakland police called in the fire at 5:23 a.m. Monday. Oakland firefighters got it out quickly, but soon discovered a body inside.

"There are a lot of combustibles around the homeless encampments," said Battalion Chief Nick Luby. "Anytime you have combustibles and heat sources, you run the risk of having the combustibles catch on fire."

"I'm crushed...honestly I've cried a lot this morning," said Nathan Moon, who lives with his family across the street from the encampment. He says the man who died is a longtime resident, someone's Moon's gotten to know who goes by the street name Kilo.

"Kilo was a big muscly guy. He was strong, healthy and hardworking," said Moon, who also described the man who died as someone who loved to cook, using the lid of a "Smokey Joe" barbecue as a fire pit. "Kilo always had a fire going...24/7."

This encampment, like many in Oakland, features a combination of tents and wooden structures made mostly out of a particle board.

"People can't live like this, particularly the boxes that are being put up right now," said Moon. "Those, in my opinion, are very dangerous."

Oakland police and fire investigators were on scene most of the and are so far calling the incident and "unexplained death."
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