By Mike Kinney
A large fire near Richmond Civic Center destroyed a home and four other out buildings and caused damage to six neighboring properties Friday afternoon, but no injuries were reported, a fire official said.
The two-alarm blaze was reported at 2349 Roosevelt Ave. at 3:38 p.m., Richmond Fire Battalion Chief Victor Bontempo said. Neighbors assisted the residents to evacuate the premises as eight fire trucks and engines responded.
High winds forced the fire to spread to a large Redwood tree in the back of the property at 2349 Roosevelt. The winds drove embers from the burning tree over to a home on the next street at 2362 Brooks Ave. Embers from the tree also contributed to the burning the backyard deck, fences and gates, but firefighters stopped the fire from moving into the interior of the Brooks home. Firefighters also fought the fire in front of the home as well. A large shed caught fire at the home of 2359 Roosevelt.
In total, 40 firefighters fought three fires on six properties, according to Bontempo. Every Richmond Fire Department company in the city responded to the blaze. Meanwhile, the fire departments for Hercules, Rodeo, Pinole and Crockett covered some of the Richmond fire stations while they were out battling the blaze.
One neighbor noted about the fire, ” It was like a war zone here with all of the smoke and fire. It was just total chaos and confusion.” People reported seeing the smoke plume from Albany and El Cerrito.
The fire’s cause is under investigation, Bontempo said.