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Fires Break Out Across the Bay Area Following July 4th Fireworks

Fires broke out throughout the Bay Area on the Fourth of July as fireworks lit up the sky.

Most of the Bay Area has banned the use of fireworks, even on the Fourth of July weekend. More specifically, the sale and use of state-approved fireworks each July Fourth is permitted in just Cloverdale, Dixon, Dublin, Gilroy, Newark, Pacifica, Rio Vista, Rohnert Park, San Bruno, Sebastopol, Suisun City and Union City.

Oakland

Firefighters in Oakland were kept busy overnight by three structure fires that broke out between midnight and 3 a.m. Monday, including a blaze at a marijuana grow warehouse.

Causes for the fires haven’t yet been determined, but fireworks haven’t been ruled out as possible culprits, a fire spokesman said.

Crews responded to the warehouse fire in the 900 block of 77th Avenue around 12:20am. The building houses two businesses — a marijuana grow and an auto body shop, fire officials said. The three-alarm blaze was under control by 3:37 a.m.

Officials said about 40 firefighters from four battalions responded to the scene with 11 engines and three trucks.

The second fire was reported shortly after 2 a.m. Monday at a two-story home at 12th and East 23rd avenues, where firefighters encountered heavy flames coming from the top of the house.

A person at the home was treated for smoke inhalation, Oakland fire spokesman Michael Hunt said. It was the only injury resulting from the three early morning structure fires.

The third blaze was called in from the city’s Temescal District about 2:55 a.m., where a commercial building at 42nd Street and Telegraph Avenue caught fire.

The structure had been the scene of previous fires, fire officials said. The two-alarm fire was under control by 3:22 a.m.

Contra Costa County

Though Fourth of July brought Contra Costa County’s largest vegetation fire of 2021, the number of July Fourth incidents was actually down from 2020, according to fire officials.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District was nevertheless busy Sunday, responding to 53 reports of fires, most of those fireworks-related and between 9 p.m. and midnight. Forty-eight fires burned only vegetation, with five involving structures. None of the structure fires went to a second alarm.

“We had a high level of activity,” said Contra Costa Fire spokesman Steve Hill. “But we started planning for it pretty much the day after last Fourth of July. We put a lot of preparation into it.”

Overall, incidents were down 20 percent from 2020, Hill said, despite conditions being much worse this year.

“The weather was our friend last night,” Hill said Monday. “There were lower temperatures and higher humidity. It was windy up until 8 or 8:30 last night. Which worked out pretty well.”

There were two small fires started by a fireworks show at the Concord Pavilion. The show was approved by county fire officials. Both fires were extinguished quickly at the scene by firefighters there just for that reason.

Hill said two other county-sanctioned fireworks shows went off without incident. He said the professional shows can actually work in firefighters’ favor.

“They give people an outlet, and perhaps keep illegal fireworks shows off the streets,” Hill said.

The county’s most serious structure fire occurred on Ross Circle in Martinez, starting in vegetation and spreading via fence line to some exterior structures.

Most of the fire-related calls came in the Pittsburg-Antioch area. Seven occurred in Concord, two in Pleasant Hill, two in Martinez, and one in Walnut Creek. The only calls in West County came from El Sobrante and San Pablo.

Hill said there were also fireworks-related medical calls, details of which he said the district will have later this week.

San Francisco

Earlier Monday, San Francisco fire crews extinguished a pier fire caused by fireworks on 450 Amador Street.

 

Firefighters responded to four outside fires on the streets of San Francisco early Monday that they were able to extinguish quickly.

The San Francisco Fire Department tweeted at 1:45 a.m. that all four fires reported in the previous hour had been extinguished and that there were no injuries.

The fires were all outside and located at 20th and Irving streets, 19th and York streets, 3rd Street and Kirkwood Avenue and at 19th and Bryant streets.

This story includes reporting from Bay City News and KQED’s Audrey Garces and Carly Severn.

Copyright 2021 KQED