Fires in Tilden and Elsewhere

By Richard Brenneman
Friday October 31, 2008 - 10:07:00 PM

Tilden Burn Out of Control  

Three Berkeley fire fighting units rushed to Tilden Park early Thursday afternoon to battle a controlled burn turned uncontrolled by the invasion of a windy storm front. 

Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said no structures were damaged by the blaze, which began when winds whipped up the flames of a 30-acre intentionally set fire and sent flaming vegetation across the firebreaks and beyond the control of East Bay regional Parks District firefighters on hand for the exercise. 

Rainfall started during the fire fighting effort, but it wasn’t enough to offset the impact of the long summer drought, though if rains continue through the next week, the state might finally call an end to the fire season within the next week or two, said the deputy chief. 

“It was strange, because the clouds were blowing right through us,” he said. 

While the Berkeley firefighters arrived minutes after they were called at 12:44, it wasn’t until 6 p.m. when the last of the engines returned home. 

Fire fighters from Oakland and Moraga-Orinda also took part in the effort, said Deputy Chief Dong. 

The fire was confined to an area along Lomas Cantadas not far from Grizzly Peak Road. 


Duplex blaze 

October also brought flames that caused $100,000 in damages to a duplex at 1619 Prince St., a school trash can fire reported in last week’s paper, and a frat house television burnout. 

Berkeley firefighters were called to Prince street at 4:54 a.m. on Oct. 18, arriving to find flames pouring from the rear of a two-story wood-framed duplex then being remodeled. 

The residents had evacuated before the firefighters arrived, and the Red Cross helped one family find temporary quarters. 

Deputy Chief Dong said the cause of the fire was accidental. 

Further remodeling will be required. 


Tube toasted 

Firefighters rushed to a fraternity in the 2700 block of Durant Avenue at 9:30 on the morning of Oct. 2 to find a television still smoldering despite the best efforts of several initiates and their fire extinguishers. 

Only the television was totaled, and the cause of the blaze was determined to be the result of the room’s occupant leaving candles and incense burning atop the set when he left for class.