3-Alert Fireplace breaks out by West Oakland Victorian, severely damaging 2 neighboring houses – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A three-alarm fire broke out early Monday in a two-story Victorian home in West Oakland, and it raced through the building and spread to two neighboring homes.

A huge column of smoke rose over the flame, which was visible several miles, even across San Francisco Bay.

Oakland fire fighters went on social media around 5:30 a.m., posting that crews were responding to calls reporting a fire near 9th and Chester in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood of West Oakland near the BART station.

At least three buildings were severely damaged in this 3Alarm incident in 9th & Peralta. This is still an active scene. pic.twitter.com/QfcWpQi1bp

– Oakland Fire Department (CA) (@OaklandFireCA) July 19, 2021

Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke was pouring out of the house and immediately began an aggressive attack to prevent it from spreading into the densely populated neighborhood. Nevertheless, flames broke out into two neighboring houses and seriously damaged them.

The response quickly increased to three alarms as around 50 firefighters battled the flames.

The intensity of the fire inside the original house – which authorities said was empty – forced firefighters to leave the building. They had to pour hundreds of liters of water onto the fire from outside.

“The main fire building grew very quickly in terms of its fire size and growth,” said Deputy Fire Brigade Chief Robert Lipp. He also said there was some evidence of accelerators in the house that caught fire first.

The fire department said the fire was under control shortly after 9 a.m. and the crews would stay to look for hotspots.

The 3Alarm incident on the 1500 block of 9th Street was placed UNDER CONTROL at 905 p.m. The crews are staying on site to defuse hotspots and to overtake the two adjacent buildings next to the fire this morning. pic.twitter.com/D2uORsS7pV

– Oakland Fire Department (CA) (@OaklandFireCA) July 19, 2021

One resident told KPIX 5 that he was woken up by Oakland police officers banging on his door telling him he had to get out.

Neighbors said they complained about squatters who lived in the house where the fire broke out.

No injuries were reported. Seven residents were evicted. The fire also triggered a power outage in the surrounding neighborhood.

Kwame Grant, the owner of one of the houses, is one of seven people who no longer have an apartment. After the crews fought the flames, this homeowner said that all of this could have been prevented.

“I’ve lost everything. I’m a musician and I’ve literally lost my entire studio,” Grant said. “So I’m out of my career, I don’t have a home and now I have to make sure I can make it to work tomorrow.”

Early Monday morning, there was a loud knock on Grant’s door. It was an Oakland cop who told him to get out.

“I literally packed my things and went outside. I turned left and the house next to me was literally on fire, ”Grant said.

Grant told KPIX that he had reported the squatters in the neighboring house to the police several times.

“Because there was a homeless man crouched in the house that caught fire, and I didn’t call once, not twice, but three times to ask that homeless person out of this place,” Grant explained.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated, but the fire department was surprised at how quickly the flames spread in the empty house. A fire investigator was on site.

This could become a police investigation if authorities discover that the fire was deliberately started.

Justin Andrews contributed to this story.

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