Massive fire burns cars and RVs at homeless encampment under Oakland freeway

Firefighters are on the scene after several vehicles caught fire at a homeless encampment.
Several vehicles caught fire at a homeless encampment in West Oakland on Monday.
(Oakland Fire Department)
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A large fire that swept through a homeless encampment underneath the 880 Freeway in West Oakland on Monday destroyed several vehicles and RVs before it was put out by firefighters.

The fire was first reported just after 10 a.m. near 34th and Wood streets, according to the Oakland Fire Department. Large plumes of black smoke billowed out from near the 880 onramp and 80 Freeway interchange.

More than 60 firefighters extinguished the blaze just after noon, said Oakland Fire Department public information officer Michael Hunt. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


There were no immediate reports of injuries, and authorities said that no one living in the encampment has come forward to say they were displaced.

The fire, which more than doubled in size over the weekend, was burning at the edge of Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove, home to the Grizzly Giant and other sequoias.

July 11, 2022

The fire stalled traffic on the freeway and an Amtrak train for over two hours. Video footage from the scene showed firefighters surrounded by mounds of debris and other items at the encampment, flanked by the freeway columns.

“We have a little bit of everything burning,” Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman told reporters outside the encampment Monday. “We have cars, we have RVs, we have a ton of combustible materials, hazardous materials. We’ve had several explosions since we’ve been here working on this incident. Which is obviously a concern and a threat to the safety of the firefighters mitigating this incident.”

Freeman expects the freeway and a wooden train trestle that caught fire to be inspected for damage.

The Oakland Fire Department has responded to more than 90 fires of varying sizes at the encampment. In March, a person died after they were trapped in a van when a fire broke out.

A lack of affordable housing is a key factor, according to a study of the nation’s major areas.

July 11, 2022