Residents allowed to return to apartments after Concord construction fire

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The approximately 250 people who were evacuated from their apartments after a massive fire Tuesday at a construction site in Concord next to their building can return home this afternoon, fire officials said today.

The three-alarm blaze caused about $55 million in damage at the 3-acre construction site of a 180-unit apartment building downtown. Two sides of the building that burned have been completely demolished, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.

There is no longer any danger to the surrounding structures, Marshall said. The residents of the unscathed apartment building next door, the first phase of the Renaissance Square apartments, were evacuated for fear that the burned building next door might collapse.

Marshall said the apartments next door will be released back to the owners at 2 p.m. and residents will be allowed to return at that time.

Willow Pass Road and Concord Boulevard near the fire area will be closed for the foreseeable future, according to Marshall. Galindo Road is currently open, Marshall said.

Fire investigators are still on scene to determine the cause of the fire, according to Marshall.

The building under construction that burned is said to have been roughly 60 percent completed, with exposed timber framing and no sheetrock to prevent the spread of the fire, making the blaze similar to others that destroyed apartment complexes that were under construction in Oakland and Emeryville in 2016 and 2017.

Those fires were determined to be acts of arson and the ATF announced in July a $100,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.