OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A massive crane, damaged by the intense flames of a 4-alarm fire and teetering precariously high above an Oakland neighborhood, was pulled to the ground by work crews Saturday night.
After spending several hours carefully connecting two cables to the crane, it took crews less than 30 seconds to pull it to the ground to the delight of dozens residents who were forced from their homes by the fire.
The 700 to 900 residents of the neighborhood forced out of their homes as a precautionary measure had not been allowed to return because of the dangers presented by the damaged crane.
Some of those displaced people were allowed to return home late Saturday night among them were residents of The Grand apartment building at 100 Grand Ave.
Gas and electric crews were working to restore service so the residents of the other evacuated properties can go home.
The fire, which broke out at about 4:30 a.m. Friday at 2302 Valdez Street, didn’t result in any injuries or deaths but was suspicious in its origin. Arson investigators from Oakland, the state and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assigned the task of determining the cause.
Now that the crane has safely been removed the investigators will be able to access the rubble left by the blaze.
The seven-story building was due to offer housing to 196 families at market rates when it was completed next spring, according to the website for the project.
Over the past two years, arson has consumed two mixed-use buildings in Oakland that would have included housing as the projects were under construction, Mayor Libby Schaaf told reporters at a news conference Friday. On Dec. 2, fire at an Oakland warehouse illegally converted into housing killed 36 people at a party there and became the United States’ deadliest fire in years.
While authorities do not know the cause of Friday’s fire, Schaaf called the cases of arson “disconcerting.”
“Oakland is in the middle of a housing crisis and the loss of these valuable units only exacerbates it,” she said.
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