Fire at construction site forces evacuations in Oakland - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fire at construction site forces evacuations in Oakland

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A huge fire at a building under construction in Oakland has been contained early Friday, but evacuations remain in place at nearby buildings.

Firefighters are continuing to pour numerous streams of water onto the blaze, which broke out in the 7-story building before dawn at 24th and Valdez streets.

No injuries have been reported.

The fire, northwest of Lake Merritt, sent flames high into the air, and a plume of smoke was visible for miles.

"I was scared," Mout Khamphou told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Khamphou was sitting in her car getting ready to go to work when she saw smoke coming from the building next door.

She drove away, thinking the fire wasn't bad, but called her husband who was still at home to warn him.

"I called my husband and I said, 'I saw the fire start. 'You have to be careful and get ready to get out.' He called me and said, 'Oh honey, the fire started getting worse and he asked where my passport and papers are. Our apartment won't be safe anymore. I was crying a lot, I worried."

She said she turned around and drove back to her neighborhood and found flames shooting from the burning building.

"I saw a lot of smoke. Big, big smoke," Khamphou said.

Streets in the surrounding area remain closed.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The building, known as Alta Waverly, was set to be completed next spring. It was to include 196 market-rate apartments and up to 31,500 square feet (2,926 sq. meters) of retail, with parking for residents in an underground garage, according to the project's website.

It was the latest big, devastating blaze to hit Oakland.

In March, a fire at a halfway house in West Oakland killed four residents. In December 2016, the Ghost Ship fire in the city's Fruitvale neighborhood killed 36 people attending an underground music event in a converted warehouse.

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