ATF concludes arson at 3800 San Pablo, Releases video stills & offers $100K reward

1 min read

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Alameda County Fire Department, Emeryville Police Department and Oakland Fire Department held a joint press conference at the Emeryville Police Station today. They shared information with the public on the findings of their investigation into the fire that destroyed the property at 3800 San Pablo Avenue back on May 13th, 2017 and July 2016.

The $35M Holiday Development “The Intersection” project remarkably succumbed to a blaze twice in a one year span prompting Holliday to suggest arson was almost certain. The ATF investigation concluded that the blaze was indeed an act of arson and released stills of a suspect. They also  offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.

Emeryville Chief Jennifer Tejada was flanked by Captain Oliver Collins, Mayor Scott Donahue and representatives of the ACFD, ATF and Oakland Fire Department.

“After examining all the evidence, The ATF has determined the cause if the May 13 fire at San Pablo Avenue to be incendiary, meaning it was intentionally set and considered an act of Arson” noted  ATF special agent Jill Snyder. The ATF also releases the result of their first investigation which they concluded was also arson.

Several pixelated video stills of the suspect were revealed shown wearing a hooded jacket, a backpack and riding a bicycle to the scene. The investigators did not conclude race, height or age range of the suspect. They also could not conclude if the suspect was also in fact a suspect in the July 2016 fire.

It was not explained how the suspect evaded the two security guards who were supported by 12 security cameras. The timestamp of the stills are labeled 2:24 a.m.

The ATF investigation involved the examination of debris from the fire and over 100 interviews with witnesses. They would not divulge if any particular organizations, profiles or motives were being investigated. “We believe we’re dealing with one person but it’s unknown what sort of affiliation this person has with any organizations” noted EPD Captain Oliver Collins. “We’re not going to elaborate” he concluded when pressed.


The ATF are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of either of the blazes and Holliday Development is offering an addition $50,000 for a combined $100,000 reward.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the ATF at 1 (888) ATF-FIRE, by visiting reportit.com or through the reporit app.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


    • LOL! I think Mr. Donahue rides one of those electric bikes so probably not benefitting him that dramatically. I’m no Columbo, but I think the first question I’d ask would be “who didn’t want this project built?” and Mr. Donahue is the only person I’m familiar with that was openly critical of it, I think is worth noting. While I want to make it VERY clear that I NEVER accused him of arson or named him as a “suspect” (nor do I think he did it), I did ask if any of the groups he’s previously aligned with were being investigated (a valid question I think). I think ANY information no matter how trivial should be provided to the investigators and that is what they are asking from the public. I still find it to be a miracle that nobody was hurt in either of these fires and clearly whomever set these did not consider the risk they put the neighborhood and our emergency workers in.

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Mr. Donahue’s tactics that he’s created a fake news story lying and slandering me about this. It’s also been pointed out to me that someone (perhaps Brian) is making fake comments under my name. The fact that some of his readers were duped into thinking that it might actually be me is an unfortunate reflection on them.

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