Fire downtown in structure on Shattuck and University

Photo, taken at 3:55 p.m., by Kenneth Stein
The fire in downtown Berkeley. Photo, taken at 3:55 p.m., by Kenneth Stein

Update: 8:30 p.m. A Berkeley firefighter received minor injuries in the two-alarm fire that broke out at 3:43 p.m. in a rear courtyard stacked with wooden pallets directly behind UC Theatre’s small space at 2115 University Ave., according to Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken.

The fire, which sent black smoke billowing above downtown Berkeley, mostly damaged some old attached shed structures, she said. A small part of the building’s interior was also damaged. The building has the address 2113 and 2111 University Ave.

Update: 5:35 p.m. Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the fire department has extinguished most of the blaze, but there are hidden pockets of fire in the walls and ceilings which firefighters are chasing. The five-story apartment building next door, at 2119 University Ave., has been evacuated. The offices for UC Theatre and the vacant Krishna Copy store have been affected by the blaze. University Avenue is closed from Shattuck to Oxford, she said.

Original Story: Berkeley firefighters are battling a blaze in a building on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and University Avenue, according to Berkeley police.

Black smoke is billowing out of the rear of 2101 University Ave., which used to house the Indian restaurant, Tikka Corner and other businesses. (Although it later became clear that the fire was no in this building). It is now closed. The building is a historic one and is known as the MacFarlane Building, constructed in 1925, according to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.

That property, and the rest of the block north to Oxford Avenue, was recently sold by Equity Residential to Mill Creek Residential, a Texas-based company that develops, acquires, and operates apartment complexes. The property is permitted for the construction of a large apartment complex.

Berkeley police are asking people to avoid the area.

“Traffic is congested in the area,” Lt. Andrew Rateaver wrote to Berkeleyside. “Please do not approach the fire scene, and be cognizant of fire hoses in the roadway. Please do not fly your drones over the fire.”

Berkeley is filling up with visitors who are coming to town for the Cal football game, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Cal is playing the Texas Longhorns.

Firefighters are battling a blaze at University and Shattuck Avenues.
Firefighters are battling a blaze at University and Shattuck avenues. Photo: Mike Finger/Periscope

At 3:53 p.m. Mike Finger recorded the fire on a 3-minute Periscope:

Emergency responders on scene in downtown Berkeley. Photo: K.H.

This story was updated as more information became available.

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Frances Dinkelspiel is co-founder and executive editor of Cityside. Email: