1 person found dead in homeless campfire in Oakland
OAKLAND – A person has been found dead in an RV after a fire broke out at an Oakland homeless encampment, the city’s fire department said.
The blaze burned three RVs, two cars and a flatbed truck, firefighters said.
Five people were displaced by the fire, authorities said.
The investigation is looking for the causes of the fire.
The camp on Wood Street and 26th Street is an area of West Oakland that has seen several recent fires. A few blocks north, three RVs caught fire on Wood Street and 34th Street last month. Two dogs died in this fire. There was also a large fire that burned several nearby vehicles on Wood Street at West Grand Avenue.
“We come here quite a bit. It has a lot of challenges, the biggest one is that we don’t have a fire hydrant at the homeless encampment site,” Oakland Fire Batt said. Chief Frank Tijiboy. “We still have a problem with the water supply. We had to install a fire hydrant here and pull 450 feet of hose into the camp to get to the scene.”
Tuesday’s blaze left some who work in the surrounding neighborhood frustrated and fearful.
“They should have had this cleaned up a long time ago,” said Joseph Wacker, who works across the street at Soundwave Studios. Instead, he says the debris from the encampment was allowed to pile up. “You know it only takes a few embers to come here. It’s an old building. Part wood, part brick.”
Those who live at the encampment say they are also frustrated with the city’s fire prevention efforts.
“Yes, they could do more. If they have the power to do it, do it,” said Eric Aikens, who lives at the camp.
“We can’t rest, we can’t relax,” said Mavin Carter Griffin, who also lives at the camp. “We need help getting organized, and it would be nice if we had some funding and maybe a bit of support, and maybe a conversation with the city once in a while, but we’re not getting anything, no return in the last two years that I have lived here.”
The Oakland Fire Department said that between March 2021 and March 2022, there were approximately 90 fires of varying sizes and degrees between West Grand and Wood streets and 34th and Wood streets. They said the majority of those fires were happening on Caltrans property at the homeless encampment under the freeway.
KTVU investigated last summer and found homeless encampment fires in the city of Oakland averaged one a day in 2019, then increased to three a day in 2021. Many of they were considered arson.
KTVU has contacted both the City of Oakland and a councilwoman who represents the district to ask what they are doing to resolve the issue. No response was received at the time of dissemination.
SEE ALSO: Oakland homeless encampment triple fires, some are arson