Berkeley firefighters got a not-so-festive reminder of an approaching holiday when a 911 call summoned them to a grass fire near the intersection of University Avenue and West Frontage Road not far from I-80.
They arrived to find flames burning over a half-acre of dry grass near the Sea Breeze Market & Deli at the edge of Eastshore State Park, said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.
The flames were soon extinguished and, as the smoke cleared, firefighters found the cause: the remains of Roman candles and bottle rockets left by premature Fourth of July celebrants.
“Even ‘safe and sane’ fireworks are illegal in Berkeley,” said the deputy chief. “And if you really want to get burned, large fireworks can be prosecuted as felonies.”
Perhaps ironically, the site of Saturday’s fire would have been a good spot to watch some really spectacular aerial explosions, when the city holds it annual holiday fireworks display in the Berkeley Marina, starting at 9 p.m.
“Be sure to come before 7 p.m. if you want to find a place,” said Deputy Chief Dong.
An emergency call brought Berkeley’s bravest to the 2500 block of Buena Vista Avenue just after 9 p.m. Friday, June 4, when they found a pile of brush and branch debris burning between two houses.
Quick action prevented any damage to either of the two structures but prompted the deputy fire chief to remind Berkeley Hills residents that the city’s Fire Department and Parks and Recreation Department sponsor a joint program for residents left with piles of burnable plant matter.
“The city will provide a wood chipper for branches and free biodegradable bags are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Fire Stations 2, 3, 4 and 7 and at the Parks field office, 1325 Bancroft way.
For information on the loan of the wood chipper, call 981-7270.
Three new firefighters joined the department’s ranks in graduation ceremonies held Friday, June 5.
The new members of the helmet-and-air-tank crew—all of them trained paramedics as well—are Anthony Barlow, Matt Einspahr and Amory Langino.
They officially joint their engine com-pany’s this coming Sunday after they finish their orientations, Deputy Chief Dong said.