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Update, May 15: The Berkeley Fire Department says the fire “started on the front porch but the cause is undetermined. Damage assessment estimated $300,000 – $500,000 not including contents.” Residents of the home have launched a fundraiser.

Original story, May 11: A two-alarm fire on Hearst Avenue displaced 12 people from a northwest Berkeley home on Saturday morning, authorities report.

Two people with minor injuries were taken to the hospital for observation, according to the Berkeley Fire Department.

Saturday at about 7:20 a.m., BFD got multiple calls about the fire in the 1100 block of Hearst, near Curtis Street. Berkeley police officers arrived first on the block and went inside to help residents escape. When fire crews arrived, they saw flames in the front of the house, said Berkeley Fire Chief Dave Brannigan.

Two disabled residents lived in the home, BFD was told. The residents were rescued by first responders.

The fire was reported to be under control as of shortly before 9 a.m.

Saturday’s fire on Hearst. Photo: Berkeley Fire Department
Saturday’s fire on Hearst. Photo: Berkeley Fire Department

BFD said the house, which includes a number of small rooms, was crowded with items. That made putting out the blaze a challenge, authorities said.

In addition to the main home on the property, there was a cottage in the back.

The fire department called the American Red Cross to help relocate the displaced residents.

A fire on Hearst Avenue in Berkeley. Photo: Citizen reporter

The fire investigator got to the scene shortly after 9 a.m. to assess damage and determine cause.

Note: Berkeleyside updated this article after publication to reflect the role police also played in the emergency response.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...