There were fortunately no injuries and everyone made it out safely, but a number of propane tanks exploded in an Oakland encampment fire early this morning, and I-880 had to be shut down between 4 and 5 a.m. as the fire grew quite large.
An early morning encampment fire hit West Oakland Tuesday, and while no one was hurt, a number of propane tanks were ignited in the blaze, which was under a freeway overpass, and it forced Caltrans to briefly shut down a Grand Avenue onramp. According to KTVU, the blaze roared for nearly an hour and a half, and “started when an RV, a full-size van and two other vehicles caught ablaze,” though the specific origin of the fire is still under investigation.
A fire broke out early Tuesday morning at a homeless encampment in West Oakland underneath a freeway overpass, which started when an RV, a full-size van and two other vehicles caught ablaze. https://t.co/U9obSQ39e5— KTVU (@KTVU) March 1, 2022
KPIX reports the fire was first reported at 3:43 a.m. at a MacArthur Maze onramp, at West Grand Avenue and Wood Street, under I-880. For perspective, that’s about two blocks west of Horn Barbecue, or a block north of Raimondi Park. The Oakland Fire Department had the blaze contained and everyone safely evacuated by 5 a.m., but it was a uniquely difficult fire to battle.
The fire is at Wood Street and West Grand Avenue under Interstate Highway 880 just south of Interstate Highway 80. https://t.co/0AQVTewLY4— KRON4 News (@kron4news) March 1, 2022
"We had the fact that there aren't any hydrants inside the encampment,” Battalion Chief Frank Tijiboy told SFGate. “When crews got inside the encampment, there was a chain link fence around the vehicles. We had to cut the chain. Also, we had propane tanks going off at the same time."
Oakland firefighters responded to a fire that broke out at an encampment at Wood Street and West Grant Avenue under the Interstate Highway 880 overpass at early Tuesday, officials said. https://t.co/603dFfOp7h— SFGATE (@SFGate) March 1, 2022
Fortunately no one was hurt, as in last week’s Glen Park encampment fire that killed one woman and left three other people injured. According to SFGate, the damage was pretty much limited to several vehicles, an RV, and a bus. But the fire could have had other impacts, as KPIX reports, “The flames roared near the concrete supports of the Grand Ave. onramp to the MacArthur Maze forcing Caltrans to shut it down over fears the heat may be compromising its structural integrity.”
There will likely be some antagonism toward the homeless community for allegedly causing all this, but some perspective — on Tuesday morning, we also learned the identity of the woman who died in that Glen Park encampment fire last week. KQED reports she was 40-year-old Zarina Pimshin, who leaves behind an eight-year-old daughter and two adult sons.
She was evicted and became homeless in 2018 because she was behind on rent. She owed $2,453.
Image: Oakland Fire Department