Sunday, May 14, 2017

Five-alarm fire destroys Emeryville, CA apartment complex under construction for second time in under a year

Massive blaze ignites early morning sky in Emeryville — flames could be seen 80 blocks away
Fire destroys apartment complex for second time in under a year

Firefighters battled a five-alarm fire on San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville, near the West Oakland border, on Saturday, May 13, 2017. It's the second time the five-story complex under construction has burned in less than a year. (Harry Harris / Bay Area News Group)
By Harry Harris | Bay Area News Group
UPDATED: May 14, 2017 at 3:25 am

EMERYVILLE, CA — A retail-apartment complex near the border of Oakland at Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue burned in a spectacular five-alarm blaze early Saturday — the same building that was under construction again after it was destroyed in a massive, six-alarm fire last July.

First reported at 4:58 a.m., the fire at 3800 San Pablo Ave. was under control by early afternoon, but Oakland and Alameda County firefighters still were monitoring hot spots.

Traffic on several streets was closed to all vehicle and foot traffic except for emergency vehicles.

Heat from the blaze was so intense that it buckled metal scaffolding around the building and damaged a construction crane to the point that firefighters feared it could collapse. As such, 35 residents so far have been evacuated from 15 apartments and condominiums at 3900 Adeline St., according to Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, although Knowles acknowledged the fire is considered “suspicious.”

There were no reports of injuries so far. The complex is located at the convergence of San Pablo Avenue and 39th and Adeline streets. Streets near the fire were blocked off and dozens of people gathered outside the barricades to watch the firefighters battle the blaze.

Police and fire officials said the street closures would remain in place until the fire was fully extinguished and the damaged crane was dismantled. The streets closed include San Pablo Ave. between 37th and 40th streets, Adeline St. between 36th St. and Yerba Buena Ave., 39th St. between Adeline and Market streets, Apgar St. between W. Macarthur Blvd and Market St. and W. Macarthur Blvd. between Emery and Market streets.

Chirag Dalibar, 49, lives two blocks away in Emeryville and said he was already awake when he saw the flames.

“It was a big fire, a huge fire and inferno, the biggest fire I’ve ever seen,” he said. “There were lots of embers flying around, smoke. It was everything you would imagine that a big fire would create.”

High flames and smoke could be seen for several miles, and there were some precautionary evacuations — later lifted — of neighboring homes or businesses as a precaution as embers flew blocks away, sparking minor grass fires in vacant lots. One police officer said that embers landed in a school dumpster a few blocks away in the 3300 block of Market Street, but the small fire was quickly extinguished.

Embers are also thought to have burned the roof of a house about two blocks away on 36th Street, although that fire, too, remains under investigation.

Oakland Battalion Chief Zoraida Diaz said the fire will be investigated jointly by Alameda County Fire, Oakland Fire, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Diaz said it could be a new investigation or a continuation of the investigation from last July’s fire. She said that this time there were cameras and security guards at the construction site but it was too early to determine the point of origin or cause of the fire.

Members of ATF’s National Response Team will be arriving from around the country in the next day or two to help local fire investigators, who are looking for witnesses as well as video footage of the blaze and the surrounding area.

Almost 100 firefighters from Oakland and Alameda County battled the fire, both from within the burning structure and with aerial ladders on the outside. The firefighters were also assisted by drones operated by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

Diaz said a major complication was high winds that blew embers for several blocks, prompting crews to be specifically assigned to putting out minor fires they started.

Vandy Tauch, who lives on 36th Street and watched the last fire at the site, said he was frightened because “this time it was blowing to my area.”

He said he was asleep when he heard a “crackling sound” and when he went to look out a window saw “a huge orange fireball.”

He woke up his wife and three children and rushed outside, grabbing a garden hose to start “watering everything down.

“I saw all these embers flying all over. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like fireballs coming down from a volcano.”

Firefighters eventually arrived at his home to keep it safe.

Diaz said firefighters would be on the scene for the next 24 hours at least to make sure there were no significant flareups.

She said the fire did spread to some condominiums under construction at Apgar Street and West MacArthur Boulevard that had been destroyed in last year’s fire.

Last summer, the same building and an adjoining auto business on 39th Street were gutted, and 10 townhouses on Apgar Street were damaged in a fire that took hours to bring under control. At the time, the apartment complex, called the Intersection, was a project of Holliday Development. It was designed to include rehabilitation of the historic Maz Building at the juncture of three major routes — Adeline Street, MacArthur Boulevard and San Pablo Avenue — with 105 units and 25,000 square feet of commercial space on the border of Emeryville and West Oakland.

ATF was offering a $10,000 reward for information that would help pinpoint the cause of that July blaze, the investigation into which is still active.


Police said the driver of this Toyota Corolla lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the Lindenhurst Firehouse on South Wellwood Ave. on Sunday. A woman walking on the sidewalk was killed.

(James Carbone/New York Daily News)

L.I. mom killed saving daughter from car plowing onto sidewalk

A Mother’s Day stroll in Suffolk County ended in tragedy with a mom dying moments after shoving her daughter out of the way of an out-of-control car.

Police said that the mother, Diane Aluska, 55, was walking side-by-side with her daughter, Jenna, in Lindenhurst when the driver of 2005 Toyota Corolla lost control.

Ann Riolo, 80, failed to put her car into drive, sending the car careening onto a sidewalk on South Wellwood Ave. around 9:10 a.m., Suffolk County Detective Sgt. James Murphy told the Daily News.

“Her mom sees the car jump the curb, she actually grabs her by her shoulder and pushes her,” Murphy said.

“She saved her life, without a doubt.”

Riolo struck both the mother and daughter and then crashed into the Lindenhurst Fire Department, police said.

Aluska died at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

Jenna and Riolo were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the same hospital, police said.

The Corolla was impounded for a “safety check,” police said.

But Murphy said he did not believe Riolo would be criminally charged.

“It appears to be non-criminal, just a terrible accident,” he said.

Photos from the scene showed the trunk of the Corolla had been caved in. It remained against a wall near the garage of the firehouse, surrounded by crime scene tape.

Murphy did not know the severity of the teenage victim’s injuries.

Photos on Aluska’s Facebook page show the mom proudly posing with her daughter in front of a Christmas tree.

Newsday reported that Aluska had been pinned under the car and that bystanders lifted it off of her. They administered CPR, to no avail.

Rev. Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco, of the nearby Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Church, told Newsday he’d heard a woman struck by the car had attended Mass an hour before the crash.

Church staffers could not be reached.

Old driver commit so many traffic accidents.  They are also slow to react to changing traffic conditions and make driving around them very treacherous.  After a certain age, all old people must be subjected to mandatory testing of their driving skills.  It must happen so that we save some lives.


Mother killed, daughter injured by car on Long Island

Posted: May 14, 2017 5:26 PM EST Updated: May 14, 2017 6:34 PM EST

LINDENHURST, N.Y. (AP) - Police on Long Island say a mother was struck and killed by a car after pushed her 16-year-old daughter out of the way of the oncoming vehicle which was vehicle backing out of a parking spot.

Suffolk County police say it happened just after 9 a.m. Sunday as 55-year-old Diane Aluska and Jenna Aluska were walking on the sidewalk on South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst.

Police say a Toyota Corolla, driven by 80-year-old Ann Riolo, of Lindenhurst, mistakenly drove onto the sidewalk in reverse, striking the pedestrians before slamming into the Lindenhurst Fire Department.

The mother was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her daughter and the 80-year-old driver were hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries.

Off-duty Union City police officer Sgt. Mark Zeitounian, 44, was killed after he was rear-ended on Route 3, that also injured 5 people

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A 44-year-old Union City police sergeant headed to work from Lyndhurst was killed in a multi-vehicle crash on Route 3 late Saturday.

Sgt. Mark Zeitounian was driving a car that was struck from behind on the eastbound highway near the Hackensack River Bridge, igniting a chain reaction that involved four vehicles, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said, confirming an earlier Daily Voice report.

The 18-year veteran was killed and five other people were injured, he said.

No charges were immediately filed. However, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Fatal Accident Unit was continuing an investigation, Grewal said.

Early Sunday, Zeitounian's department posted a tribute on its Facebook page:

"Last night the Union City Police Department lost a good man, Sergeant Mark Zeitounian, in a tragic motor vehicle accident.

"Sergeant Zeitounian was a graduate of Union Hill High School class of 1994 where he was a standout football player. He was hired at the Union City Police Department in 1999 and graduated from the Bergen County Police Academy Class #84.

"At the Union City Police Department, Mark served his whole career in the Patrol Division. Mark, was a knowledgeable police officer and supervisor who you could always count on to get the job done. He passed on his knowledge by serving as a training officer for newly hired officers.

"Around the police station you could catch Mark talking about his wife Debbie, his son Jason, his dog Bosco or his beloved Washington Redskins. Mark's passing extends a pain in our hearts still there from the passing of PO Ricky Fernandez. We hope that you both meet up and reminisce about your stories from the 4-12 shift.

"To Mark's family, his wife Debbie, his son Jason, his sister Maria, your Union City Police Department family is always here to comfort you and support you, as we know you are for us.

"From the moment that Mark was hired in 1999 until last night, we were always by his side. We will always be by your side. UCPD Sgt. Mark Zeitounian #350 your watch has ended we've got it from here. May you rest in eternal peace!"
EAST RUTHERFORD — Off-duty Union City police officer
Sgt. Mark Zeitounian, 44, was killed in a four-car crash late Saturday on Route 3.

Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal said Sgt. Mark Zeitounian, 44, of Lyndhurst was killed in the collision in the eastbound lanes of the Hackensack River Bridge just after 11 p.m. that injured five people.

No charges have yet been filed, according to Grewal, who did not offer details about the circumstances of the crash that closed the highway for about 8 hours.

On its Facebook page the Union City Police Department mourned the loss of a “good man” who was married with a son. “Mark, was a knowledgeable police officer and supervisor who you could always count on to get the job done. He passed on his knowledge by serving as a training officer for newly hired officers,” the department wrote in its post.

Zeitounian was a 1991 graduate of Union City High School and has worked in the Union City department since 1999 after graduating with Bergen County Police Academy Class #84, according to the department.

A man killed and 6 others injured after lightning struck a tree and a limb fell onto man's head during a Mother's Day barbecue in Passaic, New Jersey


A 28-year old man was killed and six others were injured after lightning struck a tree and a limb fell into a backyard during a Mother's Day barbecue on Paulison Avenue.

Lightning hit the tree at 4:58 p.m. causing a tree limb to fall in the backyard of 375
Paulison Avenue where a family was having barbecue, Lt. Jonathon Schaer said.

"It's an act of God, as unfortunate as it is," Schaer said.

The 28-year-old man died from his injuries at the hospital where he had been transported in critical condition . Schaer said his name is being withheld pending family notification.

Rain and isolated thunder storms with estimated wind gusts between 50 to 60 miles per hour came through the area around 4:30 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

"The main impact with the storms that came was the strong wind gusts," National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Ciemnecki said.

The storms developed in Upstate New York and came down across the region.

"It was a sunny day," Ciemnecki said. "It probably caught a lot of people off-guard."

Six people were taken to St. Joseph Hospital from the barbecue in Passaic. Five have minor injuries and one is in critical condition.

The National Weather Service also received numerous reports of damage in the area from trees.

In Rutherford, three trees came down with the storm hitting trees and downed electric poles, Rutherford Sgt. Jeff Wilkinson said.

Trees fell on Maple Street, Raymond and Wilson Avenues around 4:45 p.m. There were no injuries reported to on Maple Street and Raymond where trees fell on houses. There minimal damage was caused to the houses that are still habitable.

Significant damage was caused to electric poles on Wilson Avenue. There is limited power in the area and at least a dozen houses so far reporting outages, according to Wilkinson.
PASSAIC, New Jersey (WABC) -- A man has died after being struck in the head by a falling tree in New Jersey.

A lightning bolt hit the tree just before 5 p.m. Sunday during the passing storm. The 28-year-old was outside during a Mother's Day backyard barbecue on 375 Paulison Avenue in Passaic.

Multiple other people were injured.

Stove-top cooking started a fire that caused $30,000 in damages at a Springfield, Mass. apartment

Cause of apartment fire in Springfield released, damage in the thousands 

Updated: May 14, 2017 6:37 AM EST
By Jessica Michalski


A fire at an apartment on Sumner Ave. in Springfield has left thousands of dollars in damages.

Dennis Leger, Aid to the Springfield Fire Commissioner, reports that crews were called to the scene around midnight.

When firefighters arrived they found fire to 34 Sumner Ave. they found fire in apt. 407.

After putting out the flames "quickly," the Springfield Fire Department was able to determine why the fire started.

"Cause was stove top cooking," explained Leger.

He estimated damage to be under $30,000.

Luckily no one was hurt in the incident.

One 59-yr old member of the Omaha Soaring Club is dead in a glider accident during take-off at the Blair Airport in Nebraska after the canopy opened during tow

One person is confirmed dead in a glider accident at the Blair Airport just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Nebraska.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived at the scene at approximately 6:30 p.m. The agencies will be investigating the cause of the crash and reporting their findings in an accident report.

The victim, a 59-year-old male, is from Glenwood, Iowa. The man's name has not yet been released to the public.

"As far as the mechanics of the crash, it was in the process of taking off at the time," Lt. Aaron Barrow of the Blair Police Department said. "It's still in the process of being investigated."

Both Blair police and the Washington County Sheriff's Office both responded to the call. Bob Craig, the Omaha Soaring Club's president, confirmed that the deceased was a member of the club.

"I wasn't there, but it was a takeoff accident," Craig said. "His canopy opened up, and in the process of reaching for the canopy to shut it, he lost control of the plane, essentially. He was on tow, just got off the ground, and lost control of the plane, which came back down and hit hard. That's what happened."

Debris litters the field and runway of the Blair Airport after a glider crash that left one man dead. Joe Burns

The victim was the sole occupant of the glider, which Barrow said is in numerous pieces near the accident's location. Police vehicles parked in a row to block the view of the crash site. It is unclear whether the wind was a factor in the crash.

County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf has ordered an autopsy to be performed on the deceased to determine the exact cause of death. It was reported that he was already dead at the police's initial arrival.

Barrow said there is not a clear time-frame of when the FAA and NTSB will report their findings.


BLAIR, Neb. —

At least one person has died after a glider crashed at the Blair Airport Saturday. Authorities said the victim is a 59-year-old man from Iowa, who was a member of an area glider club. They have not released his name.

The aircraft experienced an inflight open canopy and subsequent impact with airport turf terrain during takeoff tow from Blair Municipal Airport (KBTA), Blair, Nebraska.  One witness said it appeared windy conditions may have contributed to the crash.

Authorities have not released any additional information. The investigation is ongoing.

Stay with and the KETV mobile app for the latest on this developing story.


Date: 13-MAY-2017
Time: -15:30
Type: Glider


C/n / msn:

Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Substantial
Location: Blair Municipal Airport (KBTA), Blair, NE - United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Blair Muni (KBTA)
Destination airport: Blair Muni (KBTA)
The aircraft experienced an inflight open canopy and subsequent impact with airport turf terrain during takeoff tow from Blair Municipal Airport (KBTA), Blair, Nebraska. The glider sustained substantial damage and the sole pilot onboard received fatal injuries.


2 people killed after their speeding vehicle crashed into a tree and burst into flames in Hollywood while they were fleeing Los Angeles police

Two people were killed after the vehicle they were in crashed into a tree and burst into flames in Hollywood while they were apparently fleeing police, Los Angeles Police officials said Sunday.

A vehicle was engulfed in flames after a crash in Hollywood on May 14, 2017. Two people in the vehicle were killed after apparently fleeing police. (Credit: ANG News)

The crash was reported about 2 a.m. when police spotted a car that had been reported stolen.

Officers attempted to stop the driver, but the person sped off. Witnesses at the scene said the driver was going about 70 mph before the person crashed near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street.

"It's clear that at one point they lost control," LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said about the driver. "It was short of a miracle that nobody on the sidewalk or other vehicles were struck."

Lauren Weening and a friend had just left a club in the area and were in an Uber when they saw the vehicle speed by them and run through a red light. They saw several LAPD units following the vehicle.

Video from the scene showed the car was engulfed in flames. Responding police officers tried to put out the flames, but were not able to. Los Angeles firefighters eventually extinguished the blaze and officers eventually put a white sheet over the involved vehicle. The people in the vehicle have not been identified, but they were apparently the driver and a passenger.

Hollywood Boulevard is closed from Gower Street to Bronson Avenue during the investigation.

The Los Angeles Fire Department also responded to the scene.

Construction worker seriously injured when he falls 40 feet from scaffolding at the Embry at the Gate Frisco, Texas apartment complex under construction by Embry Partners

Frisco, Texas
A construction employee was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Friday evening after an accident on the job.

The man was working at an apartment complex under construction near the intersection of John Hickman Parkway and Frisco Green Avenue in Frisco when it happened.

The man climbed up some scaffolding and fell about 40 feet to the ground, said Frisco fire officials.

He was transported by an ambulance to Medical Center Plano in "serious condition," officials said.

His current condition is unknown.

Frisco Police also responded to the incident to assist the fire department.

"Frisco Fire/EMS are on scene of a reported long fall at a construction site near John Hickman Pkwy. and Frisco Green Ave. Frisco Medic 3 is ground transporting a patient to Medical Center of Plano, trauma alert. Serious and potentially critical injuries reported."


A construction worker was rushed to the hospital on Friday night due to a major accident on site. The employee was part of the construction team building the new apartment complex in Frisco, near the intersection of John Hickman Parkway and Frisco Green Avenue.

He was climbing the scaffolding when something caused him to fall 40 feet. The man sustained very serious injuries and police and emergency medical services rushed to transport the worker to the Medical Center Plano.

Officials say the man is in “serious condition.”


Embrey at The Gate: How this developer landed the first piece of a $1B Frisco project
Oct 11, 2016, 2:37pm CDT

  Candace Carlisle Senior Reporter Dallas Business Journal

The Dubai-based developers behind The Gate, a $1 billion, 41-acre mixed-use development near the Dallas Cowboys' new headquarters in Frisco, had been searching for partners to help build the palatial project for months.

Now, Invest Group Overseas has found the first of its development partners in San Antonio-based Embrey Partners Ltd., which has a number of projects in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Embrey Partners finalized its agreement to build a multimillion-dollar, three- to five-story upscale apartment community — called the Domain at The Gate — totaling 350 units at the Dallas North Tollway and John Hickman Parkway in Frisco, which is north of the Dallas Cowboys new headquarters and practice facility.

Upon signing the agreement on Sept. 30, Embrey Partners has begun construction on the site, said John Kirk, executive vice president of Embrey Partners.

"We are underway with the project and excited to be in Frisco's $5 Billion Mile off the Tollway," Kirk told the Dallas Business Journal."There was a lot of buzz and a lot of competition for the site.

"We were able to forge a relationship with the land owner and they have been great to work with," he added. "This will be phenomenal when all is said and done. We are excited to be the first project within The Gate."

At completion, The Gate will include two additional phases of apartments, a two-tower luxury condo tower, 40 two-story townhomes, office buildings and a luxury hotel at the marquee corner of the Dallas North Tollway and John Hickman Parkway.

The mixed-use development will have an ornate gate-like entrance that will help identify The Gate to residents and visitors. The developers are in the midst of reviewing proposals by hotel operators for the 140- to 150-key hotel with a Turkish bath and fully outfitted spa.

Frisco's much-touted $5 Billion Mile includes $6.3 billion of real estate investment along the Dallas North Tollway from Warren Parkway to Lebanon Road. The epicenter of the mile sits at the Dallas Cowboys' world headquarters and practice facility, which was developed in partnership with Frisco Independent School District.

For Invest Group Overseas, the development group couldn't have made a better choice, said Dr. Anas Kozbari, the Dubai-based firm's CEO and managing partner.

"We are fully confident of Embrey Partners' credentials and capability to deliver excellent work," Kozbari said, in a statement. "IGO is renowned for pioneering landmarks wherever we have ventured, and together with Embrey, The Gate will certainly mark another corporate milestone for us.

"We see The Gate development as a destination that will pull huge traffic from all over the Dallas Metroplex," he added.

The Domain at The Gate will help set the tone for the entire mixed-use development, Kirk said. The designs of the apartment portion of the project have yet to be finalized, but the exterior will have a European-style natural stone and stucco.

"It's a beautiful combination of old world European architecture with a contemporary style that brings together crisp and clean luxury with lush spaces, natural materials and higher-end finishes," he said.

Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners is the project architect for The Domain at The Gate.

The apartment community will have expansive courtyards, an 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, two-floor fitness facility, golf simulator, dog park and bike garage.

Construction on the apartment community, which includes one- and two-bedroom units, is slated for completion in mid-2018.

Gensler is the master architect for Invest Group Overseas larger vision of the project. For a preview of The Gate, see the attached slideshow.