Oakland firefighters were out in force Friday afternoon responding to several fires along Interstate 580 in East Oakland near the 35th Avenue overpass. The fires, which appeared to have begun on the freeway embankment, quickly spread to houses in the area.
Michael Hunt, a spokesperson for the Oakland Fire Department, told The Oaklandside at the scene that the fires, which started at approximately 2 p.m., had been contained. But not before doing considerable damage.
“Crews were able to get a good level of containment on the vegetation fires, but ultimately four to five structures were impacted, with a rough estimate of 15 persons being displaced,” said Hunt.
Northbound traffic on I-580 was reduced to one lane around 3 p.m. The cause of the fires was still unknown at the time of this article’s publication.
Fire crews arrived on the scene quickly and worked to tamp down the blazes, which kept spreading and sending dark, acrid smoke through the neighboring area.
Some residents in the Allendale neighborhood just below I-580 came out of their homes to watch as the Oakland police and fire departments responded to the fires, which were burning several structures near Quigley Street and Loma Vista Avenue.
Black smoke churned out of the structures that were on fire, as Oakland police officers worked to evacuate people from their homes. Some residents scooped up pets as they fled.
One man sprayed down his house with a garden hose as several houses half a block over on Quigley Street burned.
Engulfed in smoke, Oakland firefighters took to the rooftops of burning homes. Below two firefighters work to punch a hole in the roof of one home on Quigley Street.
Water from a fire hydrant sprayed into the air as an East Oakland resident watched Oakland firefighters attack blazes at several houses adjacent to I-580 northbound.
At 3:29 p.m. the Oakland Fire Department announced that the fire was under control, but that one officer was being treated for injuries.
OFD spokesperson Hunt confirmed later that the injured firefighter was taken to the hospital with heat-related injuries and was expected to make a full recovery. Hunt had no information about whether any civilians had been injured in the blaze.
PG&E announced on Friday afternoon that the fire was causing a power outage affecting over 7,000 customers in the Laurel District, Redwood Heights, Allendale, and other neighborhoods.
Hunt said the fire was similar to one that happened about two years ago in the same area.
By roughly 4:30 p.m. much of the smoke had begun to clear as firefighters were able to douse the blaze.
A group of firefighters worked on the charred embankment next to the I-580 to ensure that the fire was extinguished.