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Update: Fire Crews Battle 5-Alarm Blaze in Oakland's Chinatown

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Firefighters battled a smoky, five-alarm fire burning among the restaurants and markets in a densely-populated neighborhood in Oakland's Chinatown district Wednesday morning.

Crews responded to reports of a smoky fire on the second floor of a commercial property -- spanning 2/3 of a city block -- that housed the popular Rang Dong Vietnamese restaurant among other businesses at 710 Webster Street around 8:30 a.m.

By 9 a.m., the fire response was increased to four alarms. Crews were forced to cut into the roof to gain access to the blaze on the second floor.

The response was upgraded again to a fifth alarm at around 9:16 a.m. as additional crews were called in to make sure the flames did not spread to adjacent buildings. At 10:15 a.m. fire officials declared the fire under control.

Oakland fire chief Melinda Drayton told the media that crews believed the fire began in a dumpster behind the building, which then spread into the building.

"We believe the fire raced up between the two buildings in a really tight space and got inside," Drayton said.

Drayton said that crews aggressively attacked the smoke and flames.

"It's a significant old building in Chinatown," she said. "All the occupants were out of the building...There were times during the last two hours we were contemplating going defensive, having to ladder pipe the building to save the building, but our crews did an exceptional job."

Drayton added that crews contained the fire to one building and she asked people to avoid the area because crews may need to move apparatus around while mopping up the fire.

"We prevented it from spreading to the bank next door," she said.

Delays are expected to and from Alameda. Crews reported no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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