One dead, three critical in West Oakland Transitional Facility Blaze

Published On March 27, 2017 | By Rob Arias | News, News & Commentary

Emeryville & West Oakland residents awoke to the sound of helicopters circling above and a massive billow of smoke centered near San Pablo Avenue. Crews at the four alarm fire battled to contain the blaze that was first reported around 5:40 am. Reports are indicating one casualty, three injuries and the displacement of more than 80 others.

Initial reports indicated the building was part of the Project Pride East Bay Community Recovery Project that provided housing for vets, the formerly incarcerated and those battling substance abuse. This was corrected through the EBCRP’s Twitter handle although the building was leased to a transitional facility run by the Urojas Community Services group. Urojas shared the first floor with House of Change, and the third floor was occupied by Dignity Housing West.

A report in Hoodline.com indicated the conditions of the facility as “deplorable” with “leaks and exposed wires”. East Bay Express is indicating that building had a “long and recent history of code violations.” The Mercury is reporting that the landlord of the building, identified at Keith Kim, moved to evict tenants of the building a week after the Ghost Ship tragedy.

The event couldn’t have come at a worse time for Oakland in the wake of the post-Ghost Ship discussion. Our region continues to grapple with what to do with the collision a housing crisis, substandard living conditions, displacement and an epidemic homeless situation.

The fire was declared “contained” at about 10 a.m. The cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed by the Oakland Fire Department.

Since this is breaking news, we will update this post as new information becomes available.

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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