OAKLAND (KCBS) — Oakland fire crews contained a one-alarm fire in a large Victorian building along Interstate 980 at 29th and Martin Luther King Way Wednesday morning.

Battalion Chief Robert Lipp said it was tough to battle at first.

“When we got here there was already pretty heavy flame on the second and third floors and we had crews go in to do an interior check which is typical for what we do.”

The blaze appeared to have started on the second floor near the front of the house, Lipp said. The two top floors were boarded up, and it is  not yet clear what sparked the fire, he said.

Lipp said it was atypical for ceilings to be covered with plywood which is difficult to get through with their tools.

KCBS’ Jeffery Schaub Reports:

“It just got to the point where having crews up there was just too dangerous,”

After firefighters were pulled out, they went into defensive mode pouring water on the three-story building.

One person who was staying on the bottom floor escaped without injury before crews arrived, Lipp said. He did not have details on whether that person was living there illegally.

Lipp said the fire was controlled around 5 a.m. Twenty-two firefighters responded.

The battalion chief said no witnesses have come forward, so there was no way to know how long the fire had been burning before crews arrived.

“The fire was pretty well progressed by the time we got there,” he  said.

The second floor was severely damaged, and Lipp said the third floor was virtually destroyed. He estimated the damage at $200,000 or more.

Crews were monitoring the house this morning for any remaining pockets of fire, Lipp said.

Neighboring buildings sustained minor smoke and water damage, he said.

Firefighters have again boarded up the vacant building, which was considered unsafe and uninhabitable, Lipp said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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