Fire in renovated Oakland home claims woman

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The body of a woman was found in an Oakland Hills home after a fire just after 11 o'clock Monday night.  The fire badly damaged the home located on the 3200 block of Hood Street near the Oakland Zoo. 

"I just happened to see the flames fly up I ran outside and nobody was outside so I yelled 'fire! fire!'," says Antonio Shelton who called 911. 

More than two dozen firefighters battled the flames for more than an hour.  Crews first tried to extinguish the fire from inside the home.  But crews say that became too difficult. 

"We discovered loose gas lines and several other things that prohibited us from working right away," says Battalion Chief Coy Justice of the Oakland Fire Department. 

One firefighter was treated for minor injuries. Once crews got a cap on the gas line, they found the body of a woman burned beyond recognition downstairs in what appeared to be a makeshift bedroom. 

People in the neighborhood said they didn't know the woman personally, but the landlord told them he was working to remove her from the home. 

"There was one tenant and I guess she refused to leave and he didn't force her.  He was giving her time to find somewhere to go," says neighbor Keith Burnette.   

While we were at the scene, a man who said his deceased father owned the home wouldn't talk to KTVU about the woman.  However, others in the community say until recently several people lived in the home and it was under construction.  They say the added material may have helped the fire to burn. 

"It was still a lot of stuff just thrown around and you can see some of the contents of it still if you like inside the back. It looked like hoarder stuff," says Burnette

"The home had an extensive remold on it, which accelerates those type of things," says Justice.  The damage done to the home is estimated at more than $250,000.  The actual cause of the fire is still under investigation.