Home > Electrical Fire > Electrical Malfunction Burns Down Apartment Building in CA

Electrical Malfunction Burns Down Apartment Building in CA

Berkeley, CA – A devastating fire that tore through a Berkeley apartment building began with an electrical malfunction in the basement, fire investigators said Wednesday.

The fire was apparently an accident, starting in the elevator machinery and quickly engulfing the historic four-story apartment building just south of the UC Berkeley campus, according to the Berkeley Fire Department’s initial findings.

The Nov. 18 blaze, Berkeley’s largest since the 1991 hills firestorm, destroyed 39 apartments and two popular restaurants at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street. Nearly all the 70 displaced residents were students or recent graduates.

The building owner could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but tenants said the building had a history of electrical problems, one of which caused a fire on the roof in February and another that trapped residents in an elevator. The owner of the building lost a small claims case in 2006 in which a tenant claimed his laptop and bedding were destroyed after an electrical short-circuit.

Story via SFGate.com

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