Oakland firefighters have confirmed one person has died and multiple people are injured in a four-alarm structure fire at the corner of 26th Street and San Pablo Avenue. (KGO-TV)
By Amy Hollyfield
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:59AM
OAKLAND, Calif. -- One person is confirmed dead, seven were rescued and three suffered injuries from smoke inhalation this morning in a four-alarm fire in West Oakland, according to fire officials.
Around 5:30 a.m. emergency crews responded to the scene of a residential structure fire at 2551 San Pablo Ave. near Mead Avenue.
There were a total of 86 tenants, 85 of whom have been displaced, according to Battalion Chief Erik Logan.
When fire crews arrived on scene there was heavy smoke and flames visible, Logan said, and he did not hear any alarms going off.
Most of the residents had self-evacuated and were already on the street.
"It was extremely scary you're wondering if you are going to make it. Is this it?" said Karen Redus, a fire victim.
One couple tried to open their door but the doorknob was too hot to touch. they were trapped.
"I got up, there was smoke everywhere. I tried to walk but the smoke hit me and I fell down. I went for the door, I couldn't get out, it was a lot of smoke," said another fire victim.
"I thought I was going to be dead. I thought about the other fire they had down by Fruitvale," a fire victim told ABC7 News.
At least one person did not make it out, and human remains have been located on the second floor, according to Logan.
James Cook, an attorney with John Burris Law Offices, said the address is a transitional housing facility for homeless people, people getting out of prison and people with mental health issues.
The facility is a 62-unit building operated by Urojas Community Services, a faith-based organization acting as the master tenant, Cook said.
The building's owner served the tenant with a 30-day eviction notice last week, but they were trying to stay and planning to file a breach of contract lawsuit, according to Cook.
He described the building as "virtually uninhabitable," with exposed wires and backed up plumbing inside.
"I think there were a lot of issues going on in that building," Cook said.
A 49-year-old woman named Angie who lived in the facility for roughly two months said she did not hear any smoke detectors or fire alarms go off during this morning's fire.
"It was scary," Angie said. "All I thought about was the people I love, my friends and the people I care about getting hurt."
The Bay City News contributed to this report.