Two fires, one on Harmon Street and the other on Shattuck Avenue downtown, kept the Berkeley Fire Department busy on Monday, Aug. 26.
A structure fire was called in at 1608 Harmon St., one block east of Sacramento Street, at 10:45 a.m., with reports of heavy black smoke coming from a lower unit of a two-story fourplex. According to Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong, by 10:55 a.m., the Fire Department had requested a second alarm as the fire had extended into the upper unit. The fire originated in the lower unit and its cause is still under investigation.
There were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters. The preliminary damage estimate for the property is $50,000, and two of the four apartments are not currently habitable. The American Red Cross assisted three displaced occupants. A total of five engines, two trucks, two ambulances and two chief officers responded to the blaze. The fire was declared under control at 11:25 a.m.
On Monday night, a structure fire was reported at 9:01 p.m. at the Shattuck Apartments, above the CVS store at 2322 Shattuck Ave. The first arriving company gave an initial report of heavy black smoke on the fourth floor, Chief Dong said. Due to the size of the building and number of units, an additional engine and truck company were called to assist with evacuation.
The fire was contained to the oven and the cause was due to the ignition of a plastic handle on a bake pan lid that was stored in the drawer of the oven. The occupants of the apartment were advised not to return to the apartment for the evening to allow the unit to air out.
There were no reported injuries, and damage was limited to the pans stored in the oven drawer. Five engines, two trucks, one ambulance, and two chief officers responded to the fire.