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Four injured in five-vehicle crash on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito

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The scene Tuesday afternoon after a multi-vehicle collision on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane in El Cerrito. (Photo courtesy of John Stashik.)

Four people were injured in a multiple-car collision between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30 on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane in El Cerrito, with one taken by helicopter to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Michael Pigoni, Battalion Chief/Operations for the El Cerrito Fire Department, issued the following statement:

This evening at approximately 4:30 pm, Engine 71, Engine 72 and Battalion 71 were dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane. Initial reports were that there were 5 to 6 cars involved and possible two people trapped. Engine 71 arrived on scene to find multiple cars (5 total) in the south bound lane that were involved. Drivers were still in three of the cars.

A total of five patients were found at the scene, four adults and one infant. Four ambulances and two helicopters were ordered due to the apparent injuries with a landing zone set at Cerrito Vista Park. Engine 72 used their “Jaws of Life” to open the driver’s door of one of the vehicles to extricate the patient. The first patient was removed from the vehicle and transported to Cerrito Vista Park where REACH 3 had landed and was flown to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. The three other patients were all treated and transported by ground to John Muir Medical Center with serious to critical injuries. The infant was checked out at the scene and was not injured and was released to their family.

At this point in time, the updated condition of the patients is not known.

The photographs below of the accident scene are courtesy of the El Cerrito Fire Department.

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Similar scenario to 1991 Oakland firestorm played out in 1913

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An October fire fanned by high winds and fueled by abundant eucalyptus trees and tall grass sweeps through the Oakland-Berkeley hills and threatens the landmark Claremont Hotel. That describes the events of the disaster known as the Oakland Firestorm of Oct. 19, 1991 that is coming up on its 25th anniversary.

It also sums up a fire that broke out on Oct. 6, 1913 in the Berkeley hills that overwhelmed the young city’s firefighting capability. The Claremont residential district in Berkeley had been established for less than a decade and was still developing. The hotel itself had been under construction for a number of years, stalled at points by financial issues.

“Following an architectural competition, ground was broken in 1906 for the Claremont
Hotel, designed by Charles W. Dickey,” the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association writes on its website. “It was not only to be a glorious destination site, seen from all vistas around the Bay, but it was also to be a large garden park enhancing the environment for the building of beautiful homes.”

According to Historic Hotels of America, “construction was held up — first by the earthquake of 1906 and then subsequently, the Panic of 1907.”

The fire was reported by a resident around noon, the San Francisco Call reported, and Berkeley soon had to seek assistance from Oakland in battling the blaze. (Berkeley’s department had been a full-tme professional company for less than a decade, formed in 1904 after City Hall burned down.) Also assisting were “hundreds of residents.”
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Coverage from the San Francisco Call
of the Oct. 6, 1913 fire that swept
through the hills, a scenario similar
to what happened on Oct. 19, 1991.

The blaze threatened not only the hotel, described by the Call as “one of the largest framed hostelries of the west,” but homes in the fashionable Claremont neighborhood. The fire did not claim the hotel, but did spread unchecked along Tunnel Road through the largely unpopulated hills, “fanned by a high wind” and burning down “trees set out by the People’s Water Company (a forerunner of EBMUD) five years ago.”

The fire burned several hundred acres in the hills, according to the Call account, but no property damage or injuries were reported other than the loss of the trees.

The hills would be much more developed by the time of the 1991 firestorm that claimed 25 lives and destroyed 3,642 homes, with damages estimated at $1.68 billion. Some claimed at the time that resources were diverted to from fighting that fire to prevent its spreading to the Claremont Hotel. Others say that if the fire had reached the Claremont, it would have more easily spread into lower Berkeley and possibly reached the UC Berkeley campus.

The Claremont finally did open in May of 1915, in time to serve tourists to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

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Richmond police offer ice cream and conversation at downtown event

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The Richmond Police Department invites the community to Chill with a Cop from 11am to 1pm Aug. 13 at the Community Green Space downtown at Harbour Way and Macdonald Avenue.
“No agenda, just a delicious scoop of free ice cream (while supplies last) and great conversation with your neighborhood beat officers.”
Beat officers will have crime prevention tips and there will even be free books to take home.
“Already have plans to go to the Rosie Rally? Do that first, then come downtown to celebrate, treat yourself, and Chill with a Cop,” say organizers.

The event is sponsored by Richmond Main Street Initiative, the Richmond Police Department and Lappert’s Ice Cream.

For more details call 510-236-4049 email admin@richmondmainstreet.org or visit www.RichmondMainStreet.org.

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Richmond fundraiser being held April 29 to support family of slain officer

FUNERAL FOR OFFICER GUS VEGAS

The Richmond Police Officers Association is hosting a fundraiser on April 29 at Salute Restaurant to assist the family of Officer Gus Vegas, who was fatally shot Feb. 11 at his home in Vallejo. The announcement for the fundraiser is below.

OFFICER GUS VEGAS MEMORIAL FUNDRAISER

On February 11th, 2016, Augustine “Gus” Vegas, a City of Richmond Police Officer was murdered at his home. Officer Vegas was the sole provider for his family, which included 10 children and 20 grandchildren. He served the City of Richmond and its citizens for over 15 years. He was a diligent and kind police officer.

Salute’s Restaurant owner, Menbere Akilulu, Mechanics Bank and the Richmond Police Officers Association have collaborated to provide a fundraiser for Augustine’s family. Please stop by and enjoy wine and appetizers provided by our own Richmond businesswoman, Menbere Akilulu. The event is on Friday, April 27th, between 4-7 PM. 100 Percent of all other sales during this time will be donated to the Vegas family. Hope to see you there!

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Suspect pursuit through Richmond and El Cerrito leads to hit-and-run collisions, carjacking attempts, police say

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Disabled suspect vehicle on San Pablo Avenue in Albany. Photo by Kevin Berndt.

A suspect pursuit through Richmond and El Cerrito on Saturday concluded in Albany when the subject vehicle became disabled on San Pablo Avenue. El Cerrito police issued the following statement regarding the pursuit, attempted carjackings and hit-and-run collisions they say took place:

The El Cerrito Police Department assisted the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office after a traffic pursuit of a subject wanted for a dangerous felony. Sheriff’s deputies trailed the suspect using a helicopter. The pursuit ended on San Pablo Avenue near Brighton Avenue in Albany. During the pursuit, the subject attempted to carjack two victims in El Cerrito, but was unsuccessful in both attempts. The subject also was involved in several hit and run collisions. The El Cerrito Police Department is grateful that no citizens were injured during this incident. The suspect was taken into custody and is no longer a threat to public safety. If you were the victim of a hit and run collision and have not yet reported the collision, please contact the El Cerrito Police Department at (510) 237-3233.<a

Check back at http://www.eastbaytimes.com/ for updates.

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El Cerrito police seek suspects, share video of gun store burglary attempt

El Cerrito police have posted surveillance video from the attempted burglary of the Old West Gun Room on Carlson Boulevard on March 5.

From the ECPD:

Approximately two hours later, several suspects burglarized a gun store in Petaluma. ECPD and Petaluma PD investigators are working together since the crimes appear to be committed by the same individuals. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact:

El Cerrito PD Detective Unit
investigations@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us
510-215-4400
Case number 2016-4392

Or the Petaluma PD at 707-778-4372

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El Cerrito encourages community to attend update, discussion on possible hate crime

El Cerrito issued the following announcement today on a presentation and discussion to be held Wednesday regarding the Feb. 24 incident being investigated as a hate crime:
CITY LEADERS RESPOND TO ALLEGED HATE CRIME IN EL CERRITO

El Cerrito, CA: El Cerrito Mayor Greg Lyman is inviting community members to attend the City’s Human Relations Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in response to an arson incident that the El Cerrito Police Department are investigating as a race-based hate crime.

At the Human Relations Commission meeting, community members can hear a presentation by the Police Department about the investigation and the City’s ongoing response to this incident, as well as participate in a discussion about demonstrating community solidarity against intolerance.

Mayor Lyman said, “I was disturbed to learn a family in our community were victims of an alleged race-based hate crime last week. This unfortunate incident is not in character with the El Cerrito community and provides an opportunity to highlight our community’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.”

“The El Cerrito Police Department is actively investigating this regrettable incident and has requested assistance from the community,” Lyman continued.

The alleged incident occurred early in morning on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 and the Police Department has asked any El Cerrito residents in the area of Arlington Boulevard with video surveillance systems to review their video for any vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians active between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Anyone with possible information about the case is asked to contact the El Cerrito Police Department at 510-215-4400 or investigations@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

Human Relations Commission Meeting Details:
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530
Agenda link: http://www.el-cerrito.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2558

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El Cerrito police seek surveillance video related to hate crime; plan presentation to Human Relations panel on March 2

El Cerrito police issued the following statement Feb. 29 regarding the incident on Feb. 24 that is being investigated as a hate crime:

ECPD investigators are requesting all video surveillance to assist with an investigation.
ECPD investigators are requesting all residents on Arlington Boulevard or any street near it, with video surveillance systems to review their activity for February 24th, between the hours of 0130 and 0400 hours. In specific, investigators are looking for any vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians active between the aforementioned hours as part of an on-going hate crime investigation. Anyone with video footage or additional information is encouraged to reach out to ECPD investigators at investigations@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

The Police Department will be making a brief presentation at the Human Relations Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 to provide information about the investigation and response to this incident, and be involved in the Commission’s discussion about how the City promotes tolerance and mutual respect between all persons. Community members are welcome to attend the Human Relations Commission meeting, which will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito CA 94530