Massive fire guts housing development in Oakland’s growing Lake Merritt district

A massive four-alarm fire early Monday has gutted a building under construction in Oakland’s pricey Lake Merritt district, the city’s Fire Department reported.

The blaze was reported just after 5 a.m. in the 300 block of Lester Avenue, a Fire Department dispatcher said.


The flames could be seen for miles, KTVU reported. Firefighters ordered nearby buildings evacuated, the station reported. The building had 40 apartment units and was just months away from opening, KTVU reported.

The blaze eventually consumed the building, and most of its framework collapsed into smoldering piles that firefighters were keeping a close eye on through Monday morning. Crew were expected to be at the site all day, officials said.

The Lake Merritt district, and Oakland as a whole, has seen a boom in development and housing prices since rent increases in San Francisco sent residents east looking for more affordable housing.

The fire was being investigated.

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10:40 a.m.: This article was updated to show the fire was upgraded to a fourth alarm.

This article was originally published at 6:35 a.m.