Posted in History, Montclair, Oakland, Uncategorized

Fire in the Hills – 1943

In December 1943, there were winds up to 75 MPH and many fires in the hills and the East Bay. There were at least 10 brush and grass fires reported all over Northern California.

The smell of burning eucalyptus hung over the city for hours

Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 19443

The fire in the Oakland hills started near Broadway Terrace and Skyline, in the area above the Broadway Tunnel (Caldecott Tunnel). There also was a fire on Snake Road.

Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943

The fire started just after midnight and burned for about 3 hours. The fire was most likely started by down wires knocked down by gale-force winds. There were over 30 fires reported all over Oakland.

 

Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943

Wind and Fires Wreck Havoc

Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
Oakland Tribune Dec 09, 1943
  • Fire destroyed the garbage facility at the end of Davis Street
  • Fire on Mt. Diablo
  • 50 Boats smashed in Monterey
  • Tilden Park Fire
  • 1800 Acres burned in Concord
  • Napa County Swept by Fire

More

Posted in History, Oakland

Leona Canyon Fire – Oct 1960

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

On Saturday, October 15, 1960, a brush fire started in the area of Mountain Blvd and Burckhalter Avenue.

The fire bore a striking resemblance to the disastrous 1923 Berkeley fire, which swept from the hills, destroyed 600 buildings, and leaving 4000 homeless.

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

The fire started at 11am and was under control by 2:30 pm and officially out by 4pm.

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

More than 200 firemen from the Oakland and San Leandro fought the fire for over four hours with the help of the residents who lived in the area. At times the fire came within feet of homes and rained sparks on their roofs. The damage was held to the loss of two houses, brush and oak trees.

From noon until 2pm the battle was a see-saw affair

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

Weekend Warriors

SF Examiner October 16, 1960

For the residents, it was a battle to the death. They stood of roofs and garages pointing hoses with little pressure behind them at the walls of flame, which roared through the brush and oak trees.

In the hills above, Leona Street flames roared 50 feet into the air and came within that distance of homes. At one point, police advised people to advise the residents on Leona Street, Mountain Blvd, and Mountain View Avenue to evacuate.

Cause Unknown

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

The cause of the fire was unknown. It ranged over an estimated 1200 acres after it starts near Mountain Blvd and Burckhalter Avenue. It’s course along Mountain Blvd northwesterly to Bermuda Avenue and up the hill towards Skyline Blvd.

There were unconfirmed reports of two boys playing with matches in the quarry area just before the fire started.

Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960

At the time, the winds gusted 45 mile-per-hour, which spread the fire across Mountain Blvd. but quick work by firemen and homeowners stopped the fire from spreading in that direction.

More than 100 homes were endangered during the day. Most were in the $30,000 bracket.

The Homes

  • 6384 Mountain Blvd – destroyed
  • 6434 Mountain Blvd – destroyed

The home at 6434 Mountain Blvd belonged to William Crecque, and 6384 Mountain Blvd belonged to Charles Suggs.

More

The End

Posted in History, Montclair, Oakland

1937 Fire – Upper Broadway Terrace

A brush and timber fire that destroyed at least four Oakland hill area homes and menaced at least 50 more burned in the area of Pine Needle Road and Upper Broadway Terrace and came close to the buildings of the new Broadway Low-Level tunnel (Caldicott Tunnel). This was on September 25, 1937.

Oakland Tribune Sep 26, 1937

The photo below was taken at the hight of the blaze, but before the fire jumped Tunnel Road.

Families Flee

Scores of families fled their homes in fear; others who sought to save the belongings were ordered out by fireman.

Mrs. G.H. Cowles with Eunice and Hazel Cowles
of 6142 Pinewood Road
The W.R Powers Family lost their home at 6142 Ruthland Road.
Edith Thorpe 6, holds her pet Rhode Island Red Hen

Burned Area

The fire started close to the home of Police inspector Jesse Jackson at 6019 Pinewood Road at around 3 pm on September 25, 1937. During the first six hours, the fire had burned across the western edge of the Pinehaven district up Broadway Terrace to a point just below Skyline Blvd. and back down another canyon to the west.

Oakland Tribune Sept 26, 1937

The fire chief estimated the fire burned over 9 square miles of rolling hill county.

Oakland Tribune Sept 26, 1937

Hose lines Burned

Several hundred feet of hose laid across brushy areas to link the pumps to the fire area were destroyed by flames. Lack of water was a problem, they had used up all the water in reservoirs in the immediate area.

Eyewitness Accounts

C.F. Humphrey – 13025 Broadway Terrace

Mrs. Marguerite Risley – 6493 Farralone Way

Homes Lost or Damaged

  • 15030 Broadway Terrace – Ted Gould – gone
  • 16060 Broadway Terrace – S. Albright – damaged
  • 17014 Broadway Terrace – Ed Pohley – damaged
  • 17044 Broadway Terrace – S. Sund – damaged
  • 17050 Broadway Terrace – S.C. Purser – damaged
  • 6539 Gwin Road – V. Sagues -damaged
  • 6142 Pinewood Road – G. H. Cowles – damaged
  • 6142 Ruthland – W.R. Powers – gone
The Press Democrat Sep 26. 1937

Fire Started –

The fire started when a “backyard bonfire” got out of control.

1929 Fire

There was a fire in November of 1929 in just about the same area. Some of the same homes were damaged then. The W.R. Powers home was saved in 1929 only to burn down in 1937.

Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1929
Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1929

1933 Fire

The was a fire in 1933 with the loss of one home at 7135 Pinehaven Road.

1930 Directory
Oakland Tribune Oct 23, 1933

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Montclair

1933 – Oakland Hills Fire

The fire started in the Redwood Road area and raced through to Sequoia Park (Joaquin Miller Park) and down Dimond Canyon and also spread some into Shepard Canyon. 

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

The fire, which began around 7 am on November 13, 1933, swept through the East Oakland Hills, burning a man to death, injuring two others, and destroying at least a dozen homes.  It was under control by 2 pm.

The municipal zoo in Sequoia Park (now Joaquin Miller Park) was surrounded by a ring of flames as the fire approached the animal cages. The zookeeper’s we preparing to shoot the animals, the fire stopped just 100 yards from the cages.

‘The Abbey’ is Spared

The flames spread through the homestead of the late Joaquin Miller and destroyed the home of Miller’s late mother, which was occupied his widow, who was 83.  Many of her treasures were lost, but she escaped. The historic Abbey was saved!

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

Shift in Wind

AT 9:20 am, the fire was fast approaching the Sequoia Riding Club at 2923 Mountain Blvd. The stable grooms led the frightened horses through the smoke to safety. A shift in wind saves the stables.

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Mrs. Abbie L. Miller widow of Joaquin Miller with her niece
  • Carmela Ward and a couple of the 60 horses she rescued.
  • Juanita Miller helping fight the fire
Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Removing the body of Wm J. La Marr who burned to death
  • All the was left of one hillside home
  • Schoolboys who went class to fight the flames along Mountain Blvd

List of Homes

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

More on the Fire

The End