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Fire At Oakland Homeless Camp Ignites Propane Tank Explosion; 2nd Fire In 2 Days

OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) -- A fire at a homeless camp in Oakland Wednesday morning -- the second fire at a camp in two days -- burned down several dwellings and caused a propane tank to explode, fire officials said.

The fire was reported as a recreational vehicle fire at 6:15 a.m. at 18th and Wood streets in West Oakland near Interstate Highway 880.

When crews were there, at least one propane tank exploded, according to fire officials. Everyone escaped injury.

Fire at homeless encampment in Oakland (Courtesy of Oakland Firefighters)

"Like many fire departments around the state, it's very common for Oakland Firefighters to find an array of ignition sources including propane tanks at encampment fires," said Michael Hunt, chief of staff with the Oakland Fire Department.

"Today was no different," Hunt added. "A malfunctioning propane tank, especially one that has been in close contact with a continuous flame or other ignition sources, can explode and cause severe safety risks for those nearby and firefighters on scene."

An encampment fire Tuesday morning around the same time occurred at East 12th Street and 17th Avenue in East Oakland, according to fire officials.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings' fires are two of a growing number of encampment fires in Oakland.

"We continue to see that number grow year to year," Hunt said.

The fires are all over and not just in one, two or three locations, Hunt added.

The causes of Tuesday's and Wednesday's fires are under investigation, he said.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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