OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A large crane swinging amid flames was in danger of collapsing Friday at a California construction site, officials said.
The fire began early in the day at a seven-story building under construction in Oakland, forcing nearby evacuations and sending flames high into the air.
No one was injured.
A plume of smoke was visible for miles. Streets in the area were closed.
The crane was a major concern and caused firefighters to briefly retreat amid fears it would collapse, said Acting Chief Darin White of the Oakland Fire Department.
He said several hundred people living in nearby buildings were evacuated and some neighboring buildings had heat damage.
Many evacuees stood in the streets and watched after being roused from sleep.
"I was scared," Mout Khamphou told the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/2tQIt4e).
In March, a fire at a halfway house in West Oakland killed four residents. Three months earlier, the Ghost Ship fire killed 36 people attending an underground music event in a converted warehouse
In nearby Emeryville, a $35 million mixed-use project under construction has gone up in flames twice in the past year, the newspaper reported.
No one was injured in either blaze, which were ruled arson.
The cause of the construction site fire Friday remained under investigation by the Alameda County Arson Task Force and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Khamphou said she was sitting in her car getting ready to go to work when she saw smoke coming from the building next door.
She drove away, thinking the fire wasn't bad, then called her husband who was still at home to warn him.
"Our apartment won't be safe anymore. I was crying a lot, I worried," she said.
She said she turned around and drove back to her neighborhood and found flames shooting from the building.
The building, known as Alta Waverly, was set to be completed next spring with 196 apartments and up to 31,500 square feet (2,926 sq. meters) of retail, according to the project's website.