OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A one-alarm fire caused damage at a bakery near Lake Merritt in Oakland Wednesday morning, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire at Merritt Restaurant and Bakery, at 203 E. 18th St., near Athol Plaza around 2:45 a.m., fire officials said.

Fire officials said the fire was brought under control by firefighters around 3:35 a.m.

The fire, which started in a storage area in the back, burned through to an office on the second floor of the bakery. The kitchen also suffered smoke and water damage, which could keep the struggling local business closed for some time.

Customers who stopped by the bakery, which opened in 1952, recalled their favorite dishes. Toni Smith liked to come by for dessert.

“It’s a white cake with strawberry and whipped cream in the middle and strawberry on top. It’s my favorite. I went to Oakland Tech and my dad would pick me up from high school and bring me here to get a slice everyday after school. It has a special memory because my dad has passed away,” she said.

Leigh Coe said she has been coming to the bakery since the 1960s when she would get off her shift as a bartender and Merritt was open 24 hours.

“It’s just really sad. I feel badly for the people that work here. A lot of them have been here for years and years and years. What do they do now? The economy is so bad anyway,” she said.

Officials said the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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