Homeless encampment in Oakland goes up in flames

Smoke from the fire could be seen rising above the city's skyline

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A large fire was sparked at a homeless encampment in Oakland, California, Thursday night. 

The blaze sent black smoke and flames shooting into the air. Oakland fire officials said the fire started around 7:50 p.m. local time underneath the Lake Merritt Boulevard overpass near the Kaiser Convention Center in the city's downtown area. No one was injured in the fire.

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It took about 25 firefighters 45 minutes to put the fire out, according to an Oakland Fire Department spokesperson. Firefighters found household items, weight machines and artwork under the bridge. Structural engineers were called to the area to inspect the bridge. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A large fire burns at a homeless encampment in Oakland, California on April 28, 2022. 

A large fire burns at a homeless encampment in Oakland, California on April 28, 2022.  (Twitter/@MichaelChesher)

Residents in the area took to social media to share videos of the massive blaze. What sounded like small explosions could be heard in the videos. Flames could be seen rising over the bridge and thick black smoke was rising above the city's skyline. One social media user said the encampment had been in the area for at least a year with no action taken to clean it up.

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Earlier this month, one person was found dead, and five others were displaced by a fire at a different homeless encampment in the city.

The fire burned three RVs, two cars and a flatbed truck in West Oakland. The Oakland Fire Department said between March 2021 and March 2022 there were roughly 90 fires at a single homeless encampment in the city, according to Fox 2.

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The station reported that fires in the city of Oakland averaged one a day in 2019 and increased to three a day in 2021.