A massive blaze swept through an apartment complex on the Oakland-Emeryville border over the weekend, the second to hit the site in less than a year.
The Alameda County Fire Department said in a Facebook post last night that firefighters would be in the area of 3800 San Pablo Ave. overnight and into this morning as the five-alarm blaze was contained, but still not fully extinguished.
The fire broke out just before 5am on Saturday morning. Heavy smoke and flames were visible when firefighters arrived and it took hours to get the fire contained as winds spread embers to neighboring properties, starting smaller fires. Emergency responders were also concerned that a large construction crane could collapse.
Streets in the busy area remained closed throughout the weekend, including San Pablo Avenue in front of the Safeway store and the freeway entrance on West MacArthur Boulevard.
The Alameda County Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire with help from the federal Bureau of Alcohol Firearms Tobacco and Explosives. The federal agency typically steps in to assist with investigations into large fires.
The same building previously burned in a six-alarm fire last July, damaging other houses in the neighborhood. Investigators concluded that the fire was caused by someone lighting fireworks on the fifth floor, which was framed in wood at the time, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
No one was arrested in connection with last year's fire. Construction restarted on the project in March, SFBT reported.
After last year’s fire, developers Rick and Nancy Holliday of Holliday Development wrote on the project’s webpage that their firm was “rapidly rebuilding this project to bring beautiful housing, office space, restaurants and more to the community as soon as possible.”
According to plans submitted to the city of Emeryville, the structure will be a 105-unit apartment building when completed. Part of the project would incorporate a GMC truck showroom and repair facility until the 1980s that has housed various businesses since then, including Maz Auto Glass in the 1990s and early 2000s.
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