Victim dies in stairwell during apartment fire

A fire at a four-story apartment complex in Oakland early Wednesday morning has killed at least one person, according to Oakland fire officials.

Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Ian McWhorter said a call came in at 3:54 a.m. Wednesday of a fire burning at 401 Fairmount Avenue. The victim was found on the stairwell outside their top-floor apartment, McWhorter said.

McWhorter said:

“It was a very intense fire.”

A Bay City News reporter who lives at the apartment complex was awake when the fire started and said he heard yelling and someone yell “fire!” outside of his apartment.

The reporter then walked outside of his apartment and saw people knocking on each other’s units and fire engulfing the corner unit located on the top floor of the apartment complex. One other person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the unit the blaze started in, but the unit below it suffered extensive water damage that displaced two people. McWhorter said the Red Cross had been called to help those displaced.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.