By Tracey Taylor and Frances Dinkelspiel
Berkeley fire and police departments responded to a fire in the 2300 block of Durant Avenue on Sunday morning.
The fire broke out on the roof of The Metropolitan apartment building, and furniture and planter boxes were on fire, according to BFD Battalion Chief Paul Cavagnaro, who spoke to Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel on the scene. Cavagnaro said the cause of the fire was unknown, but residents are known to go to the roof deck to smoke, and there are no ashtrays there, so they use planters instead.
BFD got the call about the fire at 9:18 a.m. and the fire was controlled by 9:35 a.m. The building was evacuated and residents, many of whom are students, were milling around on the sidewalk at around 10 a.m. They were let back in a short time later.
A Nixle alert, issued by BPD at around 9:45 a.m., spoke of a working structure fire in a multi-unit residential apartment building. Residents were advised to stay clear of the building as firefighters worked to suppress the fire.
At around the same time, Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said traffic was blocked on Durant east of Fulton and motorists were being advised to avoid the area. By 10 a.m. traffic on Durant was normal again after BPD re-opened the street, and residents were being let back into the building.
This developing story was updated as we gathered new information.