The rear of the apartment building at 2227 Dwight Way where extensive fire damage is evident. Photos: Tracey Taylor

An estimated 30-35 people were displaced by the two-alarm fire that blazed for nearly four hours in the early hours of Thursday morning leaving the apartment building at 2227 Dwight Way gutted, and forcing the temporary evacuation of neighboring buildings. About 10-12 of those were residents of the building that burned.

On Friday morning a demolition crew was on site to take down one section of the exterior rear wall of the the 3-story, 6-unit building as it had been deemed unstable.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was accidental and started in a water-heater closet. Damage is estimated to be at least $1 million according to a City of Berkeley spokesperson.

Because the gutted building is unstable, neighboring buildings have been yellow-tagged

The fire-damaged building has been red-tagged by the City, and, because of the risk that thebuilding could collapse, several surrounding buildings have been yellow tags. Residents can only enter with a police escort.

The two-alarm fire broke out at around 4:00 am on Thursday March 8. Firefighters had a tough time quelling the blaze as they were forced to tackle it from outside the building after third floor supports and the roof collapsed.

Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong told Berkeleyside: “Ultimately we had a difficult time suppressing the fire because we were unable to be inside the building and because it ran through the ceilings and floor joists.”

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...