Weed whacker spark caused Oakland fire

The Associated Press
Saturday September 14, 2002

OAKLAND – The Oakland Fire Department has determined that a five-alarm blaze that charred 15 acres and threatened homes Tuesday was accidentally caused by a brush-clearing crew. 

“The fire was the result of what we believe is a spark generated from a weed whacker with a steel blade on it that hit a rock,'' said Deputy Chief Ron Carter. 

He said the crew had been hired to do the work by a property owner in the area.  

According to Carter, it has not been decided whether the crew or property owner could be forced to pick up the tab for putting out the fire. 

“We haven't made that determination as to whether any penalty fines or anything will be assessed,'' Carter said. 

He would not comment on reports that the property owner had been cited by the city in the past for failing to clear brush from his land. 

Fire crews are still on scene on a fire watch today, Carter said, but could clear the area tonight if it is determined safe to do so. 

A total of 200 firefighters from Oakland and other jurisdictions were brought in to knock down the blaze near Keller Avenue and Mountain Boulevard on Tuesday. Six air tankers and four helicopters also assisted in the firefighting effort.