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ATF Probe Of Massive Oakland Fire Comes Up Empty

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The cause of a four-alarm fire last month at a construction site in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood remains a mystery after a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives department probe came up empty.

The ATF said their meticulous search of the burned out remains of the massive apartment complex that was under construction did not turn up any evidence of being caused by arson.

"After examining all the evidence, ATF has determined the cause of the July 7th fire to be undetermined," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill A. Snyder in a press release.

The blaze broke out at about 4:30 a.m. July 7 at 2302 Valdez St. and caused the evacuation of at least 700 people from nearby buildings.

It was one of four major blazes that have destroyed under-construction apartments in Oakland in the last 14 months. Three of the fires have been ruled to be the work of arsonists.

The building on Valdez St. was slated to have 196 market-rate apartments and 31,000 square feet of retail space when construction was completed in 2018.

Investigators, who began looking into the cause July 10, said evidence so far has not revealed a cause. Yet they will continue to consider new evidence or information from residents and witnesses.

Wood Partners, the owners of the new complex, said they hoped the ATF would continue to search for a cause.

"We are hopeful the AFT and fire officials can make a determination of the cause of the fire in the future," the company said in a release. "Wood Partners continues to work with the City of Oakland to rebuild the project."

Anyone with information is asked to get in touch with the ATF by calling (888) ATF-Fire, visiting, or by sending information through the Reportit app available on Google Play or on the Apple App Store.

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