The Berkeley Fire Department responded to a call of a structure fire in an unoccupied apartment building at 2631 Durant Ave. around 5 a.m., according to Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken.
No injuries were reported, she said, and the fire was extinguished in just a few minutes. The fire began on the outside of a building and then made its way inside. The fire department is investigating the cause, particularly whether it was linked to an encampment of people experiencing homelessness nearby.
“Regarding the cause, while we can’t tie it specifically to the encampment, my battalion chief says there was a lot of trash and debris in the area providing easy fuel for a fire, and they found lighters and needles near the origin of the fire,” McCracken wrote in an email.
Traffic on Durant near College Avenue was hampered because of the fire equipment and hoses in the street, according to Lt. Andrew Rateaver of the Berkeley Fire Department. He said the streets were clear around 6:30 a.m.
This story was updated as more information became available.
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