BERKELEY (KCBS) – Fire investigators were touring two damaged homes after a blaze Wednesday night overtook the structures and forced the evacuation of more than a dozen other Berkeley Hills residences.

There was no initial report on how the 3-alarm fire began. However, a neighbor heard a loud noise from what appeared to be a burning branch that fell onto a fence between two houses in the 1000 block of Miller Avenue.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“It looks like the sparks caught the trees between the houses,” said Tristian Miller, who was house-sitting for his parents in one of the nearby homes.

Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said the firefighter response was complicated by a power line that fell on the first engine to respond to the fire.

“Our initial water and pump that’s being used to combat the fire was compromised,” Dong said, forcing them to call out another engine.

However, firefighters eventually gained the upper hand on the blaze and had it under control at 10:41 p.m., Dong said.

Every available Berkeley engine was called to the scene, and Alameda County crews were called in to cover the rest of the city.

In all, 15 houses were evacuated because of the fire.

Four firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and sprains, including an ankle injury and a knee injury, he said.

There were no reports of injuries to residents, and no word of any missing pets, he said. However, both homes are uninhabitable and the American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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