Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday September 18, 2007

A fire-starting burglar and a six-year-old with matches topped the recent hotspots for the Berkeley Fire Department. 


Burning burglar 

Police followed firefighters to an apartment at 2627 Regent St. Saturday night after it was discovered that a burglar had apparently tried to cover up his crime with a greater offense—arson. 

“The tenants were able to put out the fire before we got there,” said Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth. 

After burglarizing the place, the burglar had thrown a robe over a lamp, resulting in the blaze. 

“They either got very sloppy or they started a fire to cover up the burglary. We’re treating it as an arson,” said Orth. 



A 6-year-old who lives in an apartment in the 1600 block of Sixth Street ignited his bedroom curtains while playing with matches, said Deputy Chief Orth. 

“His mom was asleep and the smoke-detector woke her up” just after 7 p.m. Thursday night, Orth said. 

The blaze was kept in check by fire extinguishers until a BFD chief who happened to be in the area arrived and doused the flames with a garden hose. It was out by the time the engine company arrived. 


Suspicious blaze 

Flames broke out in the grass behind a two-story residence in the 1900 block of Parker Street just after 4 p.m. Friday. Firefighters are considering the blaze as suspicious since folks who weren’t supposed to be there had been spotted in the yard moments before, Orth said. 


Dorm room burns 

Quick response ended a fire that started on the roof of Cory Hall on the UC Berkeley campus last Wednesday shortly before 3 p.m. 

A torch being used by workers to install a new roof ignited the wooden supports to an air unit, and firefighters were forced to tear off some of the roofing before they could quell the flames. A fast response limited the damage to about $3,500, said Orth.