(BCN) — Albany Police arrested a 31-year-old Berkeley woman they suspect started two fires on Albany Hill on Sunday afternoon that burned into the evening and prompted the city to evacuate nearby neighborhoods.
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Albany spokesperson Brennen Brown said police arrested Megan Strahl on suspicion of arson. She was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
The first reports of fire on the tree-lined hill across Interstate 80 from Golden Gate Fields came in at 3:24 p.m. Fire was reported at the corner of Washington and Cleveland avenues, according to the city’s website. A second fire was reported shortly after on the west side of the hill.
The city said on its website Monday that a security guard in the area contacted a police officer about a possible suspect. Police located Strahl and arrested her without incident.
The city issued an alert to nearby residents around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, saying, “Firefighters have been deployed to the west side of Albany Hill (ALB-E002). Residents of Gateview, Hillside, and Taft St need to evacuate. Meet at Golden Gate Fields.
Please avoid the area. Visit https://community.zonehaven.com to know your zone.”
Other agencies helped contain the fire, including the Berkeley Fire Department, which tweeted at 5:32 p.m. “All 7 engines are working Albany’s #cleveland incident, with both truck companies staffing brush rig and type 3 wildland unit. Alameda County and Oakland Fire departments are covering #berkeley currently.”
Albany lifted the evacuation order at 6:43 p.m. Sunday, Brown said. Albany Police are asking people who may have seen the fires start or may have additional information regarding suspicious activity in the area just prior to the fires starting to contact them at (510) 525-7300.
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