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CA Residents Evacuated after Nearby Construction Fire

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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On Tuesday (April 24), a three-alarm fire on an under-construction apartment building resulted in the evacuation of 250 residents living in a nearby complex. While the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, an investigation is underway.

According to CBS San Francisco, the fire was reported at 12:55 a.m. at the location of the second phase of construction of the Renaissance Apartment Building.

Apartment Building Fire

The building under construction was 60 percent complete, still mostly wood, and took up an entire city block—roughly 2.75 acres of property. The fire burned a 260-square-foot stretch of building. So far, firefighters have estimated $55 million in damages caused by the blaze.

Two sides of the building that had burned down have since been completely demolished. After crews gained control of the fire, scorched scaffolding fell over onto a road and parked cars.

“The majority of the building was under construction without any sheetrock whatsoever, so there’s just no way to control that,” said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.

Marshall also noted that there was a concrete parking garage at the center of the fire site. What caught fire was the surrounding under-construction apartment building wrapped around the structure.

According to Mercury News, the unfinished apartment building has been under construction since 2016, when developers Legacy Partners and SyRES Properties bought the site and the next-door Renaissance Square Apartments. Residents were expected to move into the building in September.

Evacuation, Investigation

A national response team, working in collaboration with U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is currently conducting an investigation. As of last week, documentation was underway, and once the site is deemed safe, the physical investigation can begin. The ATF was called in because of the extent of the fire.

"To include video evidence, to include eyewitness testimony, we'll also use accelerant-detection dogs where if any type of ignitable liquid was used, then that would also help," Patrick Gorman, with the ATF, told reporters.

The same agency was also called in to investigate three large fires at under-construction buildings in Oakland and Emeryville in 2016 and 2017. Those fires were determined to be acts of arson.

The investigation is expected to take several days. Residents were allowed to return to their homes Friday (April 27).


Tagged categories: Fire; Government; Health and safety; Safety

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