firefighters entering building
Oakland firefighters enter the building of the East Oakland Youth Development Center where a fire broke out Thursday morning. Credit: Courtesy Oakland Fire Live

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The East Oakland Youth Development Center is raising money for repairs after smoke from an early morning fire damaged the building’s entryway early Thursday morning. 

Clothing and tires were set on fire in front of the doors of the community center located on International Boulevard and 83rd Avenue, authorities said. Smoke from the fire activated the building’s sprinklers and damaged the doorway. While the fire was contained and extinguished outside of the building, the front entrance was left charred from the smoke. 

Donations will go toward repairs and security, and anything over the amount needed will support the center’s youth programming. 

The 30,000 square-foot building underwent a major expansion several years ago, and the newly renovated building was unveiled in 2015, adding 6,000 square feet, a computer lab, and exercise and arts studios. In a Facebook post, Regina Jackson, the center’s CEO, said the building’s design with a secondary entrance prevented the damage from being much worse. 

“Without knowing who the culprits are, we will report to the police,” she wrote in her post. “They have their hands full with crime, but you just can’t go around destroying community treasures.”

The fire comes two weeks after another fire damaged the Junior Center of Art and Science, and a February blaze devastated the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay. 

Founded in 1978, the youth development center provides after school programming, career training, sports programs, and art classes. 

Note: Images in the photo gallery came from Oakland Fire Live and the East Oakland Youth Development Center on Twitter.

Ashley McBride reports on education equity for The Oaklandside. She covered the 2019 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike as a breaking news reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. More recently, she was an education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News where she covered several local school districts, charter schools, and the community college system. McBride earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, has held positions at the Palm Beach Post and the Poynter Institute, and is a recent Hearst Journalism Fellow.