26 May 2017
In the early morning hours, just after two o’clock, the neighborhood near Allendale and 38th Avenue in East Oakland was awakened by a loud explosion first thought to be an earthquake. Within minutes, more explosions demanded investigation. A car was in flames, and the flames were climbing a tall tree as fuel began streaming downhill along the curb in the form of liquid fire.
One of the problems Oakland faces reared it’s ugly head again as this reporter attempted to call for fire services : dispatch from a 911 call goes directly to California State Patrol, which then has to forward the call to Oakland dispatch. This arrangement causes delays in response time. In this case, the dispatcher acknowledged knowing about the fire, yet insisted upon asking for the name of the caller, which was the least important bit of information under the circumstances at the time. These delays can be deadly. In this situation, the fire and explosions threatened two other nearby cars and one very tall tree. Had those also caught fire, the next to go would’ve been the duplex just across the sidewalk.
Thankfully, a crew arrived in time to extinguish the fire before it spread. The burned out car was removed before dawn.
Fire crews are still investigating.