OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A large fire has destroyed a vacant landmark building in East Oakland Friday; the third fire at the site in a year.
The two-alarm fire burned the former city library on the 1400 block of Miller Ave. just north of Interstate 880.
The roof of the building was fully involved as of shortly before 2 p.m. and collapsed shortly after.
Smoke produced by the fire was visible from miles away. Crews appeared to be getting the upper hand on the fire as of about 2:20 p.m., though some concerned neighbors could be seen wetting down the roof of a nearby building with hoses as a precaution.
The building opened in 1918 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was among four Oakland libraries built with funds from a Carnegie Foundation grant. The name of the library changed over the decades and by the late 1970s is was closed as a library because of seismic concerns.
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In recent years the property has been overrun by squatters. There were two fires at the building in April of last year; one in which a firefighter broke his ankle.
Neighbors have long complained that squatters and gang members use the building for criminal activity.