For Immediate Release
Press Contact: David Orth, Fire Department, (510) 981-5501

BERKELEY FIRE DEPARTMENT BATTLES

Berkeley, California (Thursday, June 14, 2007) - Berkeley Fire Department responded to two major fires on June 13. The first fire, reported at 4:24 p.m., was in a vacant warehouse at 920 Heinz. The building, which is to be the site of the new Berkeley Bowl, was due to be demolished on June 18. The fire appears to be accidental and was probably a result of transients in the building. The building was a two-story metal structure, approximately 60’ x 100’. It will be demolished as of today.

The Heinz Street fire was a second alarm fire. As is usual for a second alarm, Berkeley Fire Department responded with 5 engines, 2 trucks, 2 ambulances, and a number of fire chiefs, for a total of 32 firefighters.

The second fire, reported at 9:14 p.m., happened at 2726 College Avenue, a large multi-family dwelling (3 story) that was basically empty and undergoing renovation. Due to difficult access and the advanced stage of the fire when it was discovered, this was deemed a third alarm fire and all Berkeley resources were devoted to it (45 firefighters). Oakland and Albany Fire Departments were called in to cover the rest of the City. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s fire engine assisted directly with the attack as part of the City’s mutual aid agreement.

The College Avenue fire was probably accidental in nature, and is still being investigated. The building was heavily damaged on the upper floors with water damage throughout; damage may exceed $1 million. Fire crews were there through the night and are still at the scene helping with the investigation. Portions of College Avenue were closed for 8 hours last night.

No injuries were reported in either case.

For more information, contact David Orth, Deputy Fire Chief, 510-981-5501.

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