Large debris fire breaks out in West Berkeley at University Ave.

The conflagration sent flames into the air on both sides of the overpass, police said.

Large debris fire breaks out in West Berkeley at University Ave.
The fire broke out overnight in West Berkeley below the University Avenue overpass. Berkeley Fire Department

A large debris fire broke out overnight in West Berkeley on Wednesday, temporarily closing the freeway off-ramp from I-80 onto Hearst Avenue, authorities report.

The eastbound I-80 offramp reopened shortly after 10 a.m., Caltrans said.

The fire broke out shortly before 2 a.m., the Berkeley Fire Department said, when a 911 call came in about a large blaze near I-80 and the Eastshore Highway at University Avenue.

The conflagration sent flames into the air on both sides of the overpass, police said.

The fire caused no injuries to civilians or firefighters and was mostly extinguished by 2:40 a.m., authorities said.

The first responding crew from BFD found the fire burning inside a locked outdoor storage area under the off-ramp of I-80 and onto surface streets, said Interim Deputy Fire Chief Keith May.

"The contents burning were mostly plastic portable waste containers, which produce a lot of heat," May said. The fire spread quickly.

During the initial emergency response, Berkeley police closed traffic on the University Avenue overpass, which was directly above the fire, May said.

The California Highway Patrol also responded and closed the off-ramp from eastbound Interstate 80 into the city.

After the fire, Caltrans inspected the overpass and reopened it, but determined that the off-ramp from eastbound I-80 toward Hearst Avenue should stay closed for a period of time.

As of publication time, all roads in the area had reopened, Caltrans said.

🚨
A reader asked us about this incident, which resulted in this report. Have questions about crime in Berkeley? Alert Aipsasiamedia.