Construction Site In Emeryville Burns Down

Construction Site In Emeryville Burns Down

EMERYVILLE, CA - In the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 6th, residents of the San Pablo Ave. & Adeline St. area on the Oakland-Emeryville border awoke to a massive fire that destroyed the wood frame of an apartment construction site, along with neighboring homes. The six-alarm fire spread to nearby townhomes and apartments, forcing residents to evacuate as windows buckled from the heat. Ten neighboring townhouses were damaged, and the project’s 100 units are indefinitely delayed. While there were no injuries, approximately 50 residents were displaced.

Local resident Raub Roy was making music at his loft on Linden St. when he saw what he first assumed were fireworks. He explained via email: “I stepped into the yard and saw the full extent; the embers [were] raining down everywhere such that I had to actually dodge them and look into the night sky to see from whence they would come…” Eventually, he says, “[t]he winds shifted at around 5:30 in the morning, we got a full complement of smoke and noxious fumes, and found it necessary to go inside and seal up the cracks under the doors with towels.”

The conflagration as seen from the corner of Linden & 40th (courtesy: Diane Lynn)

The conflagration as seen from the corner of Linden & 40th (courtesy: Diane Lynn)

Emeryville is known to local residents for having far more offices than residential buildings, inhospitable to pedestrians and flush with big-box chain stores. Lately its abundance of empty or underutilized lots, plus a deeply exaggerated jobs-housing imbalance, has brought on a surge of mid-rise apartment construction to complement retail.

 

A piece of debris discovered the next morning (courtesy: Dianne Lynn & Raub Roy)

A piece of debris discovered the next morning (courtesy: Dianne Lynn & Raub Roy)

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of existing and future homes, the tragedy is compounded by the strong suspicion of arson. Witnesses claim to have seen illegal fireworks nearby, and a break-in just a few days prior, as ABC-7 News reports. A federal task force from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will be investigating the cause of the fire.

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