Investigation underway after 3-alarm fire burns Oakland home, church

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Saturday, May 11, 2024
Investigation underway after 3-alarm fire in Oakland
About 60 firefighters were battling a fire at 27th and West streets in West Oakland on Friday night, the Oakland Fire Department said.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Smoke billowed and flames ripped through St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland Friday evening.

"There was a partial collapse in the residential property and the church also suffered pretty severe damage on the Charlie side of the building in the rear," said Oakland Fire Chief Damon Covington.

About 60 firefighters were on the scene just before 7:30 p.m., making every effort to save the historic church.

"There was nobody living in the single family residence and the pastor was in the church when the fire started," said the chief, noting it could have been a lot worse.

"Crews did a really remarkable job of keeping the fire to this building and part of the church. It really could've gotten the whole city block going if they hadn't reacted so quickly," he added.

"Yeah, it was intense," said Oakland resident Matthew Evans, who could see the flames from a distance. "When I walked by, there were still flames protruding out of the building and just hope everyone is OK."

Meanwhile, the chief says, despite everyone being safe there was a close call.

"There was a collapse to the rear of the building when firefighters were inside the church and were just lucky nobody got hurt."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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