OAKLAND -- Nearly three dozen people were displaced late Wednesday after a four-alarm fire that started outdoors spread to two buildings, an Oakland fire official said Thursday.

The blaze near 23rd Avenue and International Boulevard was first reported about 10:50 p.m. Wednesday and left 33 people without housing, Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said. A temporary shelter was opened for the residents and the Red Cross was helping them find housing.

Nobody was injured.

The fire started outside the buildings and quickly went to three alarms. The fourth alarm was precautionary, Baker said. Fire crews received reports that a loud bang preceded the blaze, and crews found remnants of fireworks near the scene, Baker said.

"That said, we're still not prepared at this point to say that fireworks caused the fire," Baker said. "It remains an active, open investigation."

Baker said the buildings that burned combined to form a four-plex, with residences on the top and businesses on the bottom. Three storefronts were damaged.

Some of the apartment units remained without electricity Thursday morning, and other parts of the buildings sustained minor water damage. Those apartments will be salvaged, Baker said, though it's not known when residents may be able to move back in.

The damage to the rest of the building was estimated to be $950,000, Baker said. It's not known what will happen to the businesses.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789.


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