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Fire at Wood Frame Apartment Complex in Oakland Is Latest in Series of Large Blazes

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A fire last week in Oakland is the third major apartment fire in the past year in that city and the fifth in Alameda County, CA, which includes Oakland. This massive Four Alarm fire broke out at a large wood frame apartment complex under construction in the city's Lake Merritt district, forcing the evacuation of several hundred residents from nearby buildings. The fire spread ash and smoke throughout the neighborhood, and was visible in San Francisco and to commuters throughout the region.

This year, there have been a number of notable wood framed apartment fires across the U.S., including those in Dorchester, Lawrence and Lowell, MA; East Hollywood, CA; Waterbury, CT, Emeryville, CA; St. Petersburg, FL; Arlington, VA; College Park, MD; Overland Park, KS; Raleigh, NC; and Maplewood, NJ. There have been dozens over the last few years. Cities and towns like New York, Chicago, Maitland, FL; and Sandy Springs and Tucker, GA, have taken proactive steps to preemptively ban the use of combustible materials, such as wood, in this type of construction.

Through the Build With Strength initiative, NRMCA has resources to help members and state affiliates advocate for resilient and safer construction, including model legislation, talking points, public relations and other key strategies. To learn more about how NRMCA can assist in state advocacy, contact NRMCA Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs, John Loyer at 703-675-7603 or

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