Just last November, a massive Five-Alarm fire rocked a multi-story residential building that was almost 80% complete at the time, completely destroying the project. This month, yet another multi-story residential tower that was almost complete caught fire, making it the 5th in 5 year to suffer the same fate. At least 3 of the previous 3 fires have been ruled as arson but, up to this point, no arrests for any of the previous arsons have been made.
Amid a housing crisis in California’s bay area, signs point to an individual or group actively trying to sabotage new housing developments in the area, according to the Developer of this most recent project. The total cost of construction of the 31,500 square foot, 6 story multi-use building is estimated at $80 million. The building fire started at 4:30am and no injuries were reported.
An on-site tower crane was also caught up in making the situation for nearby residents a dangerous one. Nearly 900 nearby residents from around the site were evacuated in case the crane ended up collapsing. Even if they weren’t evacuated, chances are they would have left anyway, as temperatures around the fire registered at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jermey Davis, a fire investigator, told NBC Bay Area that arson is a hard thing to prove, but fires started accidentally behave fundamentally different than one started on purpose. He says a naturally started fire makes a V-shape, starting with the point at the bottom and then spreading out as it gets higher. A fire started by gas or other flammable liquid is very wide at the base.
In the video below (first video), you can see the crane actually spinning due to the fire. The following day, the crane was taken down, by being pulled over by a cable attached to an excavator (second video on bottom).
Full story: Video: Huge fire tears through Oakland construction project | San Francisco Business Times