A four-alarm fire quickly jumped from business to business early Wednesday, heavily damaging a Union City strip mall before it was extinguished, authorities said.
Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Kris Kerstetter said firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at Alvarado Place Shopping Center at 31875 Alvarado Blvd. at 1:05 a.m.
“It was really light smoke at first,” Kerstetter said. “But once we entered the building it took off. There were flames through the roof. Once it (the roof) collapsed, there were flames (high) in the air. It was an interesting fire to fight.”
Nine businesses, including a beauty salon, a travel agency and multiple restaurants were damaged in the fire.
“Odds are it started in a stove area or some wiring in the attic,” he said. “But since it’s 1 a.m. in the morning, we think it may have started with wiring in the attic.”
It took firefighters 90 minutes to contain and several hours to mop up.
About 50 residents in an apartment building behind the retail center, located at 4125 Dyer St., have been allowed to return home following a precautionary evacuation, fire officials said.
One firefighter sustained a laceration to the back of his hand while fighting the fire and was transported to a local hospital, Alameda County fire department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.