Man survives after propane tank hits car
A 61-year-old man napping in his car before work narrowly escaped serious injury Friday morning after a propane tank from a nearby facility exploded, flew across Doolittle Drive and smacked into his vehicle, authorities said.
The chunk of metal traveled approximately 0.2 miles before shredding through the man's brand new Honda Civic, leaving the car looking like a sardine can with the lid pulled off.
Gabriel Fragoso, a metal fabricator at Bayfab Metals, an industrial sheet metal company, said his co-worker narrowly escaped death because he had leaned forward to turn off his cellphone alarm, placed on the dashboard, at the same moment a piece of metal came hurtling through the car's back window just before 7:30 a.m.
"We were all just shaken up," Fragoso said. "It makes your skin crawl to think about it."
The 5-gallon propane tank that was being cut down came from Alco Metal & Iron Company, a metal recycling facility located at 1091 Doolittle Drive in San Leandro.
Cal/OSHA is investigating the incident to see if proper safety protocols were followed, according to Greg Siggins, a spokesman for the agency.
Siggins did not know if the propane tank still had fuel inside, but said the cause of the explosion is under investigation and that it could take up to six months to complete.
Alco Metal & Iron Company has been cited for violations four times during inspections over the past decade and two other violations are currently being investigated, according to Cal/OSHA.
An Alco employee who answered the phone Friday morning said that the company had no comment about the accident.
-- Karina Ioffee, David DeBolt, Rick Hurd, Staff
Woman, son carjacked in their driveway
A woman and her son were carjacked at gunpoint in their driveway Thursday afternoon by four men, police said.
The incident occurred in the 500 block of Broadmoor Boulevard around 4 p.m., just after the woman and her 12-year-old son had pulled into the driveway. One of the suspects brandished a gun and demanded the woman's purse, which she handed over.
The four suspects, described as men in their 20s, then got into the victim's Honda SUV and drove away.
Police were contacted and located the vehicle, left unoccupied on the 10000 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland. The SUV was processed for evidence and returned to the victims.
Lieutenant Robert McManus called the incident "fortunate in that no one was hurt," and urged nearby residents to check their home video surveillance systems for information that may lead to the arrest of the carjackers.
"You may possess the missing link that can help us solve this case," McManus said.
-- Karina Ioffee, Staff
Man fatally shot in drive-by identified
A man shot dead in a drive-by shooting in West Oakland on Tuesday has been identified as a 32-year-old, authorities said.
Johnathan Lacey, 32, died in a shooting in his Lower Bottoms neighborhood at 10:40 p.m. At least one shooter fired from a car in the 1600 block of Eighth Street near Campbell Street, across from the Campbell Village housing complex, according to police.
At 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, a Lexus believed to be used in the shooting was found abandoned and burning in the 800 block of Pine Street.
Lacey's killer has not been arrested and police have not released a motive for the shooting. The killing was Oakland's 22nd homicide of 2014.
Police and Crime Stopper of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Tipsters may call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Drought dries up spigots at state park
Mt. Diablo State Park visitors are roughing it in a new way: There is no tap water in campgrounds and most park areas because of the drought.
A third consecutive dry year in California has depleted springs that supply water for most drinking fountains, faucets, flush toilets and showers in the 20,000-acre state park above Danville and Walnut Creek.
Despite the inconvenience, campers are coming to the park anyway and bringing their own water with them, park officials reported Friday.
"No one has canceled their camping reservations," said Dan Stefanisko, the park's supervising head ranger. "And the visitor use is increasing in the last few weeks with the warmer temperatures."
To provide restroom facilities, the park has hauled in portable toilets as a substitute for the now-inoperative campground flush toilets.
Camp showers and faucets have been turned off to relax the demand on the limited spring water supplies.
Although park crews have shut down most faucets in the park, faucets at the 3,849-foot summit and the junction ranger station have stayed on due to more abundant water there, Stefanisko said.
He advises the public to continue with plans to visit the park but to be sure to bring adequate water for hikes, rides, picnics or campouts.
-- Denis Cuff, Staff
Bay Festival returning to marina April 12
The waterfront will celebrate Earth Day with live entertainment, environmental education and activities for all ages at the Bay Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 12 at the Berkeley Marina.
Activities will include free sailboat rides with the Cal Sailing Club and paddling lessons in the Berkeley Dragon Boat.
The stage at Shorebird Park will feature children's singer Gary Lapow, juggler Dana Smith, Lee Waterman and Jazz Caliente and The Bay Area Back Pages.
The park will also have booths with community and environmental education groups, recreational activities, food vendors and more.
Adventure Playground will also be open for the enjoyment of children.
For more details, go to www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/BayFestival/.
Annual BAHA house and garden tour set
Tickets are now available for the 39th annual Spring House Tour and Garden Reception hosted by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association 1 to 5 p.m. May 4.
This year's edition of the popular tour focuses on Bernard Maybeck's Rose Walk and "will feature an eclectic mix of artistic and charming houses designed by Berkeley's most notable architects, including Maybeck; John Galen Howard; Julia Morgan; Ernest Coxhead; Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr.; Sidney, Noble and Archie Newsom; and William I. Garren," among others, as well as hidden gardens along the way.
Tour cost, which includes a map, illustrated guide book and refreshment, is $45 general, $35 BAHA members. Tickets and details available at berkeleyheritage.com.