Election Section

Fire Department Log

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday August 14, 2008 - 08:58:00 AM

Monday proved a busy day for the Berkeley Fire Department, with engines racing to three separate blazes, including one that caused heavy damage to a three-story home. 


Home damaged 

The fire that began in a second-floor room of a home in the 600 block of Euclid Avenue was the last of the three and left its two elderly occupants in the care of neighbors. 

Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said the first report came at 9:20 p.m., and when the first engine company arrived moments later, they found flames and smoke pouring from the second floor with exterior wood shingles and a nearby tree ablaze. 

At 9:35 a second alarm was sounded. 

Berkeley Police evacuated the two men who lived there, and firefighters set to work dousing the flames that caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the home and a $50,000 loss to its contents. 

Deputy Chief Dong said the cause of the blaze was traced to an overloaded extension cord. 

Before the firefighters left, neighbors had volunteered to care for the two displaced residents. 


Lab blaze 

A budding scientist at UC Berkeley made an inadvertent discovery Monday, learning that plastic beakers catch fire when placed in a hot oven. 

City of Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Dong said firefighters were summoned to Koshland Hall at 2:58 p.m., responding to a report of a fire in the building. 

“On arrival, they found a fire in a lab oven,” he said, learning that a plastic—and not Pyrex—beaker had been toasted by the would-be experimenter. 

Berkeley firefighters weren’t able to place a value on the damage, being more used to pricing home ovens than their more expensive lab counterparts. 


Food fire 

At 8:30 Monday evening, firefighters rushed to a two-story apartment complex in the 2200 block of McKinley Avenue, where a caller had reported smoke pouring out of one of the units. 

Firefighters found heavy smoke and fire pouring out from a cabinet over the range. The tenant had walked away from some cooking that eventually ignited. 

Deputy Chief Dong said the flames caused an estimated $5,000 in damage.”