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.

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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.


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