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Wood-Framed Oakland Apartment Complex Under Construction Burns for Second Time in a Year

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This past Saturday, a five-story, wood-framed retail-apartment complex under construction in Oakland, CA, was destroyed for the second time in a year, raising concerns about the use of combustible construction materials in the low- to mid-rise residential market. The five-alarm fire, which buckled the metal scaffolding around the building and nearly caused a construction crane operating on the site to collapse due to the intensity of the flames, forced the evacuation and displacement of 35 residents in 15 apartments and condominiums in a neighboring building. The blaze comes amidst a string of other spectacular lightweight, wood-framed apartment fires this year – most notably in St. Petersburg, FL; Arlington, VA; College Park, MD; Kansas City, KS; Raleigh, NC; and Maplewood, NJ. There have been dozens over the last few years.
Cities and towns including New York, Chicago, Maitland, FL; and Sandy Springs and Tucker, GA have moved toward preemptively banning 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, please contact NRMCA Vice President of State and Local Government Affairs John Loyer at 703-675-7603 or

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