2-alarm fire destroys home, displaces five
A family of five was displaced from their home Thursday morning after a two-alarm fire engulfed their residence, fire officials said.
A woman and her two dogs escaped from the home in the 8500 block of Wicklow Way before fire crews arrived about 11:10 a.m., and no one else was injured in the fire, Alameda County Fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.
Four other family members, the woman's husband and her three children, were not home at the time of the fire, and the family's three chickens were also spared from the flames.
Fire officials said crews arrived to find the fire burning through the second floor of the home, and that they found it difficult to gain access to the flames.
While it was not immediately known what sparked the blaze, the second floor of the home was destroyed and the bottom floor deemed uninhabitable, Battalion Chief Alan Evans said. The only structures spared from the flames were the family's chicken coop and an outdoor prayer room, officials said.
Investigators are probing the possibility that the fire may have started on the first floor and spread upward through the walls.
-- Erin Ivie and Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Car fire spreads, forces evacuations
A fire that started in two cars spread a to home and caused the evacuation of a nearby apartment building early Thursday, a Richmond fire battalion chief said.
No one was injured in the 2:30 a.m. blaze in the 400 block of South Ninth Street. Firefighters arrived to find two vans fully engulfed, and the fire spreading from a carport to a home, Battalion Chief Merlin Turner said.
The flames also extended to a fourplex adjacent to the carport, causing firefighters to evacuate the building, Turner said. The fire was extinguished in 30 minutes.
Turner said the cause is not yet known, but people were living inside the two vans. No one was living in the home, he said.
The fire caused an estimated $160,000 in damage.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Authorities identify boy killed by truck
A 2-year-old boy struck and killed in a parking lot where his mother was selling fruit was identified Thursday as Rafael Perez, according to the county coroner's office.
A pickup fatally struck the Oakland boy around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday while he played in the abandoned parking lot near the Oakland waterfront, police said. Police have called the death an "unfortunate accident" and said the unidentified driver was slowly pulling into the parking lot and has cooperated with authorities. Drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors in the accident.
The parking lot is next to an abandoned furniture warehouse at 845 Embarcadero that was damaged in a fire about a month ago, police said.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Sheriff's Office warns of telephone scam
The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a telephone scam where a man impersonating a law enforcement officer tells people they are the target of an arrest warrant and demands money.
Spokesman Jimmy Lee said since last month, the man, who identifies himself as "Lieutenant Stevens," has called numerous residents in East Contra Costa County, telling listeners that they have a warrant for their arrest. In order to clear the warrant, "Lieutenant Stevens" then requests payment over the phone through reloadable prepaid cards.
Lee said there is no one by that name employed by the Office of the Sheriff and that it is not the practice of any law enforcement agency to have people clear their warrants over the telephone through reloadable prepaid cards.
Lee said several people have fallen victim to the scam.
Anyone receiving such a call should refuse to provide any personal information to the caller and should then contact their local law enforcement agency and notify them of the incident.
-- Katie Nelson, Staff
Man sentenced for Pinole bank heist
An Oakland man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for using a gun to rob a Pinole bank in March, the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday.
Gary Casdell Fite, 23, pleaded guilty to robbing the Mechanics Bank on Pinole Valley Road in Pinole on March 1, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said.
According to court documents, Fite walked into the bank, brandished his loaded firearm and ordered everyone to get down on the ground. Fite then jumped over the teller counter and demanded money from two tellers, pointing his loaded gun at the head of one of them. Authorities said he took more than $3,000 from the bank.
In addition to his prison term, Fite was also sentenced to a 5-year period of supervised release.
Co-defendant and getaway driver Regina Dean, 37, of Antioch, was sentenced Aug. 21 to five years in prison. The alleged lookout, Kevin Tyrone Buford, 27, of Vallejo, is next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 18.
-- Katie Nelson, Staff
Seafood and music festival this weekend
The 29th annual Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival kicks off this Saturday in the city's Old Town and Marina District.
The two-day event will have more than 50 food vendors and 100 arts and crafts vendors, three stages of musical entertainment and a children's play area and petting zoo. It runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Advance tickets for $8 for adults and $3.75 for seniors 62 and older and youth (plus processing fees) can be reserved at http://pittsburgseafoodandmusicfestival.com.
Tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors.
The event is sponsored by the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 925-432-7301.
-- Eve Mitchell, Staff