Electrical Malfunction Caused Building Fire, Investigators Say

Fire department Investigators believe the fire that devastated a historical Berkeley building was accidental and caused by an electrical malfunction of the elevator machinery.

The Berkeley Fire Department has released new information about the Nov. 18 fire that devastated a 39-unit historical building on Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue. 

Investigators are in the process of concluding their investigation, according to a City of Berkeley news update, and believe the fire started in the building's elevator machine room in the basement.

A final report will be available within the next several weeks, the city says.

The fire displaced 68 tenants and was Berkeley's largest since 1991. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than six hours before it was under control.

Demolition of the building began Monday, with Telegraph Avenue closed at and around Haste Street. 

It is currently unclear whether the two Berkeley businesses that were housed in the building at 2441 Haste Street — — will re-open in the same spot, or relocate. Roland Peterson, president of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, said that the owners have been contacted by various brokers about moving to other nearby vacant stores in the area.

Want updates on the Haste Street fire and its aftermath? Click "keep me posted" below.


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