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Huge Fire Burns Under Berkeley University Ave. Off-Ramp From Interstate 80

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Fire burns at 2nd St. and Hearst Ave. in Berkeley. (CBS)

Fire burns at 2nd St. and Hearst Ave. in Berkeley. (CBS)

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BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Firefighters have controlled a fire near the Berkeley Interstate 80 University Ave. connector ramp Wednesday afternoon that began in what appears to be a homeless encampment, authorities said.

The fire was reported at 2:41 p.m. near the corner of Hearst Avenue and Second Street, according to a fire dispatcher.

Firefighters found heavy smoke in the area and the fire underneath the University Avenue overpass and near a lumberyard, Acting Fire Chief Gil Dong said.

Stored plastic bins and an undetermined amount of recycled materials were among what was burning at the location, Berkeley Police said.

The fire was declared under control 18 minutes later. Fire investigators are responding to determine the cause of the fire, Dong said.

Originally, Dong said the fire may have started from an explosion in a methamphetamine lab. Berkeley Police later said there was no meth lab and no crime had been committed.

California Highway Patrol officials said the fire impacted traffic on nearby Interstate Highway 80 and the University Avenue off-ramp was shut down.

There were also initially reports of heavy smoke near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Allston ways, but those reports were from Berkeley High School students who were seeing smoke from the fire near Hearst and Second, Dong said.

The fire is near the area where a five-alarm fire burned a warehouse shared by three Berkeley businesses last month. Today’s fire does not appear to be impacting those businesses.


TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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