OAKLAND, Calif. -
A massive four-alarm fire burned down a large apartment complex under near Oakland’s Lake Merritt early Friday.
The fire broke out before 5 a.m. in the area of Grand Avenue and Valdez Street and quickly grew to four alarms.
Several hundred residents were evacuated from nearby .
Firefighters attacked the blaze using a “surround and drown” tactic, dousing the fire with thousands of gallons of water. A construction crane was seen whirling out of control in the flames, elevating safety concerns for residents and firefighters.
Fire crews also monitored the roof tops of nearby buildings to keep airborne embers from igniting other fires.
CBS affiliate KPIX reported the project under construction was a mixed used building and nearing completion in early 2018. It stretches across three blocks and had a planned 225 and 2,300 square feet of retail space. The building also included an underground parking garage.
The fire was visible in San Francisco and to commuters on local freeways in the Oakland area.
Crews are focusing their efforts now on dismantling a large crane which poses a threat of falling.
Oakland Mayor Libby Shaaf said at a news conference, "Oakland is in the middle of a housing crisis. And this only exacerbates the problem. This is a loss for our city."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.