Eight escape from Oakland warehouse during fast moving fire

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — A fast moving fire tore through an Oakland warehouse early Friday morning. 

Crews battled the blaze on Apgar and West Streets around 2 a.m.

Firefighters say eight people escaped from the flames.

One person suffered minor burns.

“I was really worried that I didn’t know how many people were in there, if they were in there at all. So my first concern was did they get out?” said neighbor Mariah Cochrane.

Cochrane says the owner of the warehouse would allow homeless people to stay there for a small fee. 

But it escalated to attracting drug users and other criminal activity. 

Cochrane says along with warehouse being filled with unsafe electrical wiring, the owner was also hoarding things, making the space even more dangerous..

“I don’t understand why action wasn’t taken,” she said.

The warehouse was red-tagged by the city in November deeming it dangerous and hazardous for people to be inside, but people were found living there anyway.

“People will say it was similar to a Ghost Ship,” said Oakland’s Asst. Fire Marshal Emmanuel Watson. “I don’t think it’s that extensive because we had it on the radar.”

Watson says this building was known as a problem spot. 

Firefighters have previously responded to the warehouse for another albeit smaller fire in 2014 and one medical emergency last October. 

Now after this fire, the plan is to completely close it off to keep people from getting back in. 

“The building is now going to be fenced and it will be tagged again for no entry,” Watson said.

“I just hope that the authorities actually persist in making sure that no one goes back in there,” Cochrane said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area

Latest News

More News