Fire from downed power line evacuates West Berkeley block

A fire was reported Tuesday morning in West Berkeley when a downed power line ignited a grass fire, causing an entire block to be evacuated.

Around 8:14 a.m., Berkeley Fire Department received a report of a fire resulting from the downed power lines at a residence located at 1113 Delaware St., according to Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong. The fire was declared under control shortly after 9 a.m.

Dong said the initial response was hampered because of safety issues due to the downed line, which shorted out when a seagull grounded itself on a 12,000 volt power line near the house.

PG&E crews responded and secured the line, and firefighters were able to proceed with putting out the fire, according to Dong. Officers from Berkeley Police Department assisted in evacuating the block.

Damage to the property was estimated at $50,000. No civilians or firefighters were injured, although the home’s occupant may be displaced, unless an electrical contractor declares the residence safe to re-enter.

Dong said that as of about 9:45 a.m., a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen located near the residence on San Pablo Avenue was also without power and that crew members were working to restore electricity to the restaurant and the residence.

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Adelyn Baxter is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected]