A full crew of Berkeley firefighters arrived at Casa Zimbabwe just after 8:30 last Sunday evening after receiving a report of flames shooting from the roof of the co-op housing building on Ridge Road.
Though the flames were gone when the trucks arrived, firefighters were quickly able to determine their source in the charred skeletal remains of two Christmas trees reposing in a water-filled bathtub accompanied by a partially gas-filled liquor bottle.
Two residents acknowledged that they’d set one of the trees alight, just as they had the night before, said Deputy Fire Chief David Orth.
After learning from their previous experiment that gas wasn’t needed to ignite a desiccated Christmas tree, the pair said they hadn’t bothered with the fuel for the Sunday night fire fest.
No arrests were made, and no more trees remained to be burned.
A homeless couple camped against the side of a deserted and to-be-demolished building at 2332 Fourth St. inadvertently ignited a blaze last Friday that brought firefighters out in full force.
“We suspect they were the same couple who was camped there in September and were responsible for a fire that destroyed another structure on the site,” said Deputy Chief Orth.
Friday’s blaze did little structural damage, but Orth said that city officials have repeatedly tried to get the site’s owners to secure the area where homeless people have cut holes in the fence.?