BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

Fire breaks out at Cal Student Store on Saturday morning

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ROBIN SIMMONDS | STAFF

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MARCH 15, 2014

At 10:32 a.m. Saturday morning, Berkeley Fire Department responded to a report of smoke emanating from the roof of the Cal Student Store on Bancroft Way, near Telegraph Avenue.

According to BFD Battalion Chief Bill Kehoe, the smoke originated from a small fire burning in a four-inch gap between the two adjacent buildings that house the campus bookstore and clothing shop. Debris and garbage that accumulated in the gap over the years appear to have been ignited by a cigarette butt, causing the fire, Kehoe said.

“When I opened the store, I smelled something like a barbecue, but I couldn’t see any smoke,” said Alyssa Carnagey, Cal Student Store manager. “A person from across the street came over and said he could see smoke coming out of the roof.”

A first alarm assignment team, which includes four fire engines, one fire truck, paramedics and the battalion chief, secured the buildings at about 10:45 a.m. Residents from the apartments above the clothing section of the Cal Student Store were also evacuated. Bancroft Way was closed off between Bowditch and Dana Streets, as well as a block on Telegraph Avenue, from Bancroft Way to Durant Avenue.

Over the course of four hours, firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, flooding the gap with water and foam. Since the difficult-to-access source made it complicated to determine whether the fire was quenched yet, BFD set up a fire watch, during which members of the fire department checked every one or two hours to confirm that the fire was completely out. The fire watch ended Saturday evening, according to Battalion Chief Paul Cavagnaro.

The buildings suffered minimal structural damage, though firefighters had to open up a previously sealed door between the two sections of the store to access the fire.

In 2012, a similar incident occurred at the same location, when a fire broke out in the same four-inch gap between the two sections of what was then Ned’s Bookstore.

Due to the fire, both sections of the Cal Student Store are closed until further notice, according to signs posted on the doors of the store.

Contact Robin Simmonds at 

LAST UPDATED

MARCH 16, 2014


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