Two Goats, Chicken Escape Downtown Berkeley Cottage Blaze

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A fire destroyed a backyard cottage behind a single-family home in Downtown Berkeley Wednesday evening, leaving none injured - including the family's two goats and chicken who were housed in pens adjoining the cottage.

Several 911 calls were placed around 5:53 p.m. after the fire at 1830 Berkeley Way was first spotted by a painter who was walking around the side of the house and saw the smoke and flames coming from the family's cottage that was used for laundry and storage. Berkeley Fire Department firefighters responded quickly to the first call and had controlled the fire by about 6:23 p.m., according to department Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.

Dong said the fire station's close proximity to the fire aided in the quick response time and the fire fighters' ability to prevent the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings, including the main house. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Thomas Roland, the owner of the house, said he was just returning from picking up his grandchild from school when he saw the smoke. Roland has owned the house since 1978 and currently lives there with his wife, stepson and two grandchildren.

He said he was happy to hear that the main house had not sustained serious damage. The news that the two goats and chicken did not perish in the blaze also came as surprise, he said, adding that he initially assumed the family pets had been engulfed in the flames.

"At worst we expect there's some paint damage we'll have to deal with, maybe broken windows," he said.

A portion of the 1800 block of Berkeley Way and University Avenue were blocked off Wednesday evening to allow fire trucks access to the fire. The apartment building adjacent to the home and the building which houses Trader Joe's on University and Martin Luther King Jr. Way were evacuated.

Contact Adelyn Baxter at [email protected]

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