Fire damages small cottage on Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Michael Tao/Staff
Fire in 1708 MLK

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A smoke detector may have saved the life of one Berkeley resident when a fire burned through the inside of her single-floor cottage Monday evening.

The fire started around 6 p.m. in a small cottage attached to a three-story commercial office and residential building located at 1708 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. A neighbor subsequently reported the fire and included mentions of someone screaming. The neighbor suspected that an individual might have been trapped inside the burning building, said Avery Webb, acting deputy fire chief.

Three fire trucks arrived at the scene along with a fire chief. After the first-response firefighters confirmed an active fire, additional firefighters and a fire truck with a ladder were also dispatched to the scene, Webb added.

Upon arriving at the cottage, however, firefighters had discovered that the occupant was already outside of the building and no rescue was required.
“(The occupant) said she was in her apartment when the smoke detector went on,” Webb said. “She started screaming for someone to call for help. She then went outside because she did not have her phone.”

The fire was contained within the single-room cottage, roughly 400 square feet in size. The building sustained approximately $50,000 in damage, Webb said. The occupant also lost an additional $20,000 in personal belongings.

The occupant believed that the fire may have started inside the bathroom and then spread to the rest of the cottage, Webb stated. Neither the occupant nor any firefighters were injured. Though a fire investigator was present on the scene, the cause of the fire has yet to be released.

Aliyah Mohammed is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].