Displaced Oakland residents to return after construction fire

The majority of the 700 to 900 people displaced by the four-alarm fire at an Oakland construction site Friday should be able to go home by this evening, city officials said Sunday.

The residents of The Grand apartment building at 100 Grand Ave. were allowed to go home as of 8:45 p.m. Saturday. Notifications to other affected residents are pending, according to the city’s official message.

The main thing slowing down residents’ return was safely bringing down a crane at the site so it wouldn’t fall and injure anyone. The crane was safely brought down around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Now that the crane has been taken down, “crews from the City of Oakland will now be able to assess the condition of residences and businesses in the area and investigators can finally access the fire site,” city officials said.

The majority of residents are expected to be able to return by this evening, and the rest will be able to return depending on the results of the inspections.

A shelter that had been set up for displaced residents will close at 7 p.m. today, city officials said. That shelter was at the St. Vincent de Paul Community Center at 2272 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland.

Red Cross services for impacted and displaced residents are moving to the Red Cross office nearby at 3901 Broadway, city officials said. That office will be open from noon to 5 p.m. today.

City officials are asking evacuated residents to call a city information line at (510) 238-2181 to find out whether their residence has reopened.

The fire, which broke out at about 4:30 a.m. at 2302 Valdez Street, didn’t result in any injuries or deaths.

But a number of neighboring homes and apartment buildings were evacuated because of the danger from the crane and scaffolding that could fall.

“With a fire this size it is a miracle that we have had no loss of life, no injuries and nothing more than what appears to be cosmetic damage to any ancillary or surrounding structures,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Friday.

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