Firefighters rescue mother, son after South Berkeley apartment blaze

A firefighter reaches for a gauge on the side of the fire truck.
Joshua Jordan /File

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Berkeley Fire Department rescued a mother and her teenage son Thursday night after discovering that they were both trapped in a South Berkeley apartment complex that the Fire Department believes had been intentionally set ablaze.

About 11:55 p.m. Thursday, Fire Department personnel received a report of flames at a residence on the 3300 block of Stanton Street, one block from the intersection of Sacramento Street and Ashby Avenue, according to Fire Department spokesperson Keith May.

Authorities believe that someone intentionally set the fire, said Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron White in an email. The story was first reported by Berkeleyside.

Firefighters arrived on the scene about midnight and found a two-story apartment building with flames on the second floor. First responders located a mother and her teenage son trapped on the second-floor balcony near the back of the apartment complex, according to May.

“Berkeley Fire went into ‘rescue’ mode and rescued both victims off of the second floor balcony,” May said in an email.

The fire was primarily on the front steps of the upper unit and was “quickly” extinguished by the Fire Department, according to May. He added in an email that the front door and the area just inside the entrance sustained severe smoke damage. Both the mother and son were examined by paramedics. Neither victim sustained any injuries.

According to May, the fire was intentionally set, and the cause was determined to be “incendiary in nature,” or caused by a fuel source and open flame near the front porch area of the apartment building.

“The incident does not appear to be a random occurrence,” White said in an email.

He added that the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Check back for updates.

Amber Tang is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.