Federal Investigators to Examine Oakland Construction Site Fire

Federal Investigators to Examine Oakland Construction Site Fire”

After a precarious crane was brought down on Saturday, some evacuations have been lifted and an investigation is underway into a massive blaze that destroyed an under-construction complex near Lake Merritt in Oakland on Friday morning. The project was only months from opening and had 40 apartment units. As the Chronicle reports, this latest inferno, which has temporarily displaced upwards of 700 people, appears to fit a pattern of deliberately set fires at partially completed buildings, including a pair of fires at the same site on the Oakland-Emeryville border in less than a year.

"I strongly believe that there is a person (s) setting these fires for political reasons", Holliday told the paper.

Three fires in the past year, all at partially completed residential construction sites in Oakland and Emeryville, have all been ruled as acts of arson, and a fourth, which occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, seems likely to have been an act of arson as well.

"Our focus is to provide our expertise on fire scene analysis to the Oakland Fire Department for their investigation", the team said in a statement. Last week's fire started about 4:30 a.m., the October fire about 5 a.m.

Rendering of the planned Alta Waverly building | Via Pyatok
Rendering of the planned Alta Waverly building | Via Pyatok

Not only were the flames visible throughout Oakland, the fire was so hot-more than 1,145 degrees Fahrenheit-it was detectable from space, according to the National Weather Service.

ATF is offering a $110,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for starting fires at the three separate construction sites in 2016 and 2017.

The four-alarm fire was reported shortly before 5am on Friday at a six-story building on Valdez Street near Grand Avenue. He was wearing a jacket with a hood and was carrying a backpack and riding a bicycle.

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