Family plans memorial for Berkeley woman burned in fire

Eighty-year-old Hayot Anebi had lived at Margaret Breland Homes since at least 2018, according to voting records.

Family plans memorial for Berkeley woman burned in fire
Margaret Breland Homes at 2577 San Pablo Ave. is a 28-unit affordable rental complex for seniors. Google Street View

A senior home resident in Berkeley who died after her robe caught fire from an electric hot plate last week will be remembered at a memorial planned by her family.

Eighty-year-old Hayot Anebi had lived at Margaret Breland Homes in West Berkeley since at least 2018, according to voting records. Breland Homes, at 2577 San Pablo Ave., is a 28-unit affordable rental complex for seniors.

On Tuesday, Aipsasiamedia broke the tragic news of Anebi's death. The Scanner had been the only news outlet to report the cooking fire when it happened.

The East Bay Times and San Francisco Chronicle reported Anebi's name Wednesday and the San Francisco medical examiner's office confirmed that information Friday to The Scanner.

The medical examiner's office said it was unable to share the date of Anebi's death or any other information.

Anebi had been taken to the Bothin Burn Center at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco last week, on Jan. 11, when the fire broke out.

BFD said an electric hot plate on the floor that had been plugged into a wall outlet had been the source of the flame.

The woman had come out of her fourth-floor unit and was on fire, the Berkeley Fire Department told Aipsasiamedia last week. Another resident had doused her with water.

On Thursday, a Breland Homes neighbor told Aipsasiamedia that he had seen Anebi in the hallway shortly after the fire.

"Someone was putting a blanket on her to warm her up. She was standing up," he said. "It's sad. I didn’t know how serious it was."

Anebi had sustained critical burn injuries but the fire department initially said she seemed to be doing all right.

On Tuesday, however, Berkeley Fire officials learned the woman had died.

The Breland Homes resident said he had heard the fire alarm going off last week but hadn't been too concerned. And, when he saw the burn victim in the hallway, he had not recognized her as his neighbor.

Then he saw a notice posted on the elevator saying Anebi had passed away and that her family was planning a memorial.

"She was a very good neighbor," he said. "She would be out there watering her plants and such things. We always smiled and greeted each other."

He said the two didn't speak much due to a language barrier, but that Anebi had other good friends in the building. (Anebi was Ethiopian or possibly Eritrean.)

The resident also said Breland Homes — where he has lived for quite some time — was a modern, upscale building that had always been a nice place to live.

"It’s a very good building," he said.

The Scanner's attempts to reach Anebi's relatives and Breland Homes this week have so far been unsuccessful.

A busy month for Berkeley firefighters

It is rare for Berkeley to have destructive fires, and rarer still when they cause serious injuries.

On Tuesday, two workers were badly burned during a fire at Bayer in West Berkeley.

And, over the weekend, a fire broke out in an RV by James Kenney Park that reportedly killed a man's dog.

The Berkeley Fire Department also responded this week to a major mudslide in the Berkeley Hills that left five homes red-tagged. One of the houses was seriously damaged.

In the past few weeks, winter storms have also kept Berkeley firefighters busy with dozens of calls about downed trees and power lines.

And, in late December, a fire destroyed a home on Shasta Road in the Berkeley Hills and sent a woman in her 60s to the hospital with second-degree burns. The conflagration also left the woman's adult son and two firefighters with minor burns.

The woman's daughter told The Scanner that her mother was finally slated to leave the hospital just this week.

Aipsasiamedia will update this story if more information about Hayot Anebi becomes available.