BFD puts out encampment fire on Harrison Street

The fire broke out shortly before 7:30 a.m., creating a column of heavy black smoke visible from Albany to the Berkeley Hills.

BFD puts out encampment fire on Harrison Street
An encampment fire created a dark column of smoke in Berkeley on Friday, June 21, 2024. Scanner Insider

A fire at a homeless encampment kept first responders busy Friday morning on Harrison Street in northwest Berkeley.

The fire broke out shortly before 7:30 a.m., creating a column of heavy black smoke that could be seen from Albany to the Berkeley Hills.

"Dark smoke rising, visible from Albany Bulb around 7:30 a.m.," one reader told The Scanner. "Passed by on Harrison shortly after, large police presence blocking area and firefighters on site."

Other readers said they had been concerned Friday morning when the sound of emergency sirens filled the air.

BFD has not responded to inquiries but, according to radio dispatches reviewed by The Scanner, the tent that caught fire was located near Harrison and Eighth streets.

Witnesses reported high flames and a tarp that was completely engulfed in flames.

"The fire is about 20 feet high and near a power line," a dispatcher told BFD crews as they headed to the scene.

Berkeley firefighters arrived within minutes and found heavy flames and heavy smoke.

Berkeley police also responded to the area to help with traffic and crowd control.

One person who fell while getting out of their tent requested a medical assessment, but no other injuries were reported Friday morning, according to preliminary information.

BFD wrapped up its response and cleared the area by about 8:20 a.m., according to dispatch traffic.

Just as that operation was ending, Berkeley firefighters were called to a debris fire reported in the vicinity of Virginia and Second streets.

No information about that fire was immediately available as of publication time.

The Scanner has asked BFD for details and will update this story if information is provided.

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