Firefighters To Remain Overnight At Scene Of Fire That Burned 5 Homes In Fairfield
Firefighters planned to remain overnight on the scene of a massive fire that destroyed two houses and burned three more in Fairfield Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.
As of Tuesday night the seven-alarm fire on Marigold Drive near Interstate Highway 80 was 70 percent contained but about 50 residents in the area remained evacuated, Fairfield fire spokesman Bob Silva said.
The fire started in grass along Interstate Highway 80 at about 3:40 p.m. and quickly spread to homes along parallel Marigold Drive, according to fire officials.
A total of five homes were burned in the fire and two were completely destroyed, Spears said.
About 50 residents were evacuated in total along Marigold Drive, and North Texas Street was closed between Dickson Hill Road and Atlantic Avenue, Silva said.
An evacuation center has been established at Fairfield High School at 205 E. Atlantic Ave. where the Red Cross is offering evacuees assistance, Silva said.
The fire forced the closure of two lanes of eastbound Highway 80 until shortly before 5 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
About 200 firefighters from Cal Fire and Solano, Yolo, Contra Costa and Napa counties responded to the blaze, Silva said.
Transit Agencies To Boost Service While Bay Bridge Closed
Bay Area transit agencies said Tuesday that they will beef up service while the Bay Bridge is closed over Labor Day weekend but also said people should be prepared and research all their travel options during the closure.
"We encourage everyone to plan ahead and allow more time to get where they need to go," Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said.
BART spokesman Jim Allison said, "People should do a little research and load up their Clipper Card ahead of time so they don't have to wait in line to buy tickets because we expect very busy ridership days" when the bridge is closed, especially on Thursday and Friday.
Caltrans is closing the Bay Bridge in both directions starting at 8 p.m. today to complete additional work that must be finished before the new eastern span can be opened to the driving public.
Caltrans tentatively is planning to re-open the bridge at 5 a.m. on Tuesday but may re-open it before then if the work is completed early.
However, Gordon said Caltrans cannot promise that the span will open early, saying, "The bridge will open when it's ready."
Allison said BART will try to fill part of the gap caused by the bridge closure by running longer trains on Thursday and Friday and having 24-hour service at 14 stations.
However, BART won't provide overnight service from Monday night into Tuesday morning because it needs to close its tracks for a short period to perform maintenance work and inspections and it's expecting the bridge to be reopened by that time, Allison said.
He said the transit agency's overnight trains will operate hourly on a two-route modified "X" service, with trains between Concord and San Francisco International Airport forming one line of the X and trains between El Cerrito del Norte and Dublin/Pleasanton forming the other line.
Allison said all trains will meet at MacArthur Station in Oakland, where passengers may transfer to reach any of the 14 stations that will be open around the clock.
He said BART expects its ridership to increase significantly because its ridership has surged by up to 30 percent during past Bay Bridge closures.
AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said the bus agency won't be able to provide transbay service while the span is closed so its transbay buses instead will stop at four BART stations to drop off passengers going to San Francisco and pick up passengers coming from San Francisco.
Those stations are MacArthur, the Oakland Coliseum, West Oakland and North Berkeley, Johnson said.
He said many local buses operated by AC Transit, which serves parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, also bring riders to BART stations as part of their regular service.
San Francisco Bay Ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez said his agency will also increase its service while the Bay Bridge is closed.
Sanchez said there will be expanded service from San Francisco Bay Ferry's terminals in Oakland, Alameda Main Street, Harbor Bay in Alameda, Vallejo and San Francisco.
He said there also will be direct service between Alameda Main Street and San Francisco and Oakland and San Francisco.
Normally Alameda Main Street and Oakland share a boat. "We're staffed and ready to go," Sanchez said.
Teen Killed In Car Crash Was On Way Home From Fishing With Friends In Danville
San Ramon Valley High School student Robert Orlando was riding in a car with two friends in Danville on their way home from a fishing trip when his life was cut short in a sudden crash.
The 17-year-old was scheduled to begin his senior year Tuesday and wanted to go fishing -- one of his many passions -- one last time before the school year started, said longtime family friend Richard Hein.
"He had more passion, more energy and more gregariousness by far than your average person or average two people," said Hein. "He just had a zest and a presence."
Around 8:50 p.m. Monday, Robert and his two friends, also 17-year-old San Ramon Valley High seniors, were heading north on El Capitan Drive near Claridge Drive when, for unknown reasons, the car went off of the roadway and struck a tree.
Emergency responders took Robert to San Ramon Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
Police said the driver suffered broken ribs and the second passenger suffered a broken leg in the crash.
Both were listed in stable condition Tuesday at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Drugs or alcohol do not appear to have been factors in the crash, which remains under investigation, according to police.
Robert is survived by his parents and two brothers. The family is shocked and devastated by the loss, Hein said.
Tuesday, some 50 community members visited the family's Danville home, he said. Meanwhile, flowers, cards and other tokens were accumulating at a makeshift memorial at the site of the crash Tuesday.
A memorial service will likely take place sometime next week.
The family asks that any friends who wish to send messages, or photos or videos of Robert email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Operation Exodus' Disables Violent Deep-C Street Gang In Richmond
Twenty-three alleged gang members have been arrested by local and federal authorities as part of "Operation Exodus," a summer crackdown aimed at Richmond's violent Deep-C gang.
The roughly two-and-a-half-month operation began in June after a particularly bloody couple of months in the city, police said Tuesday.
There were five murders in Richmond in April and three in May, and a total of 21 shootings happened during that time, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said.
"Many of the murders were broad daylight, execution-style, which shocked and devastated our community," Gagan said.
Not all of the killings were related, but Gagan said that as police investigated the deaths, the Deep-C gang -- which is concentrated partly in the Pullman Point apartment complex off of Carlson Boulevard -- emerged as the "largest instigator."
Police Chief Chris Magnus partnered with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct a wiretap surveillance operation on known members of the Deep-C gang, Gagan said.
Detectives began 24-hour surveillance to "listen in on and intercept members of the Deep-C gang," he said. "It was evident that on a daily basis, a majority of those gang members discussed their criminal enterprise and encouraged murder as their primary conflict resolution tool," Gagan said.
Authorities began arresting some gang members, but it was not immediately clear to the Deep-C gang that there was a wiretap, so the surveillance continued.
"We often intercepted armed subjects who we knew to be en route to commit shootings and murders," Gagan said.
The operation wrapped up when "their level of violence and propensity for violence necessitated that we end the operation and take them into custody" in ways that revealed to the gang that it had been wiretapped, he said.
Gagan said Operation Exodus likely prevented much violence.
"We're confident that this saved lives of the rival gang members and innocent citizens based on our intervention," he said.
Altogether, 23 people were arrested, including "very important people in the hierarchy" of the gang, Gagan said.
Twelve were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, and 11 were nabbed for other serious crimes.
One person is still at large and is being sought, he said.
Sixteen search warrants were served during Operation Exodus, and 17 guns were recovered, along with $11,400 in cash.
In addition, authorities seized 934 grams of promethazine with codeine, Gagan said.
He said Operation Exodus built on work done through Richmond's Ceasefire program, which started in 2011.
The program involves community partnerships and a component in which known violent offenders are called in to meet with authorities.
During the "call-ins," the participants are offered job counseling, drug treatment, anger management classes and other services aimed at steering them away from crime.
They are also told that if they don't change their ways, police will come after them, Gagan said.
Gagan said Ceasefire, which mirrors a crime-fighting strategy also used in other cities, including Oakland, has targeted roughly 70 people believed to be responsible for most violence in the city.
"If they were to put down their guns, violent crime would drop off dramatically in the city of Richmond," Gagan said.
FAA Lifts Landing Restriction At SFO For Foreign Air Carriers
The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted a temporary restriction at San Francisco International Airport that prevented foreign airlines from landing side by side, a spokesman said.
The temporary restriction, which required solo approaches by foreign flights landing on SFO's parallel runways, was put in place two weeks after the July 6 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
The restriction was lifted on Thursday when SFO's instrument landing system was put back into service, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
The "glide slope" landing system, which communicates real-time information about an airplane's descent path to the cockpit, had been turned off at SFO when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 approached the airport too slow and too low and crashed, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.
The system is not a mandatory tool and had been turned off at the airport since June to accommodate a construction project, SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said.
The FAA had said that the landing restriction on foreign carriers was put in place following an increase of aborted landings or "go-arounds" at SFO.
A pilot in the cockpit of Flight 214 had requested a go-around just seconds before the plane crashed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is continuing its investigation into the disaster.
A full report should be complete in 12 to 18 months from the date of the crash.
62-Year-Old Construction Worker Killed While Laying Asphalt At King Middle School In Berkeley
A 62-year-old construction worker laying asphalt at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School was killed when a big-rig rolled over him Tuesday afternoon, a California Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokesman said.
The worker was rebuilding a running track at the middle school, located at 1781 Rose St., when around 12:45 p.m. a big-rig parked on a slope started rolling, Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said.
The truck rolled over him and crushed him, Melton said.
No other employees were injured in the incident, he said.
The Livermore man was an employee for the San Jose-based Robert A. Bothman construction company and the crew had been contracted by the Berkeley Unified School District.
The worker's name has not been released pending notification of his family, according to the Alameda County coroner's bureau.
A state safety inspector was sent to the scene Tuesday and the case will be investigated for up to six months, Melton said.
In the past five years the construction company had no reported safety violations, Melton said.
The school opens today.
Two Men Killed Monday In Rollover Crash On Highway 280 In Burlingame Identified
Two people who were killed in a crash in Burlingame on Monday have been identified as Daly City resident Zhong Liang Li and San Francisco man Henry Huanyu Situ, both 35 years old, according to the San Mateo County coroner's office.
The two men and a third passenger were in a Volkswagen sedan heading north on Interstate Highway 280 at about 5:20 p.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Moises Escoto said.
For reasons that are still under investigation by the CHP, the driver of the sedan lost control and the vehicle drifted off the roadway south of Trousdale Drive, Escoto said.
The vehicle overturned several times and landed near several trees about 15 feet down an embankment on the right side of the highway, Escoto said.
Li and Situ were pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
A third passenger was taken to Stanford Hospital as a precaution, he said.
No other vehicles appeared to have been involved, according to the CHP.
It has not been determined if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash, which remains under investigation by the CHP.
Family Members, Rep. Pelosi Reflect On Legacy Of Late Artist Ruth Asawa
A crowd of students, parents, artists, family members, local dignitaries and supporters filled the benches at the music concourse in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park late Tuesday morning to remember the renowned sculptor Ruth Asawa.
Asawa passed away on Aug. 6.
She was 87.
The Japanese-American artist had been a strong advocate of integrating art and education at San Francisco schools and started the School of the Arts.
The high school at 555 Portola Drive was renamed for her in 2010.
At her memorial service attended by hundreds Tuesday at the bandshell in the park area in between the M.H. de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, several family members reflected on the well-known artist, along with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
Asawa's grandson Xavier Lanier lauded his grandmother's work to create the School of the Arts.
"My grandma created a place that talent like this did not go to waste," he said.
He noted that her time spent in interment camps with her family along with more than 110,000 other Japanese-Americans during World War II influenced her art.
"She survived an incredible time," he said.
Asawa was known for her wire sculptures and paintings, many of which are on display at the de Young Museum.
Many of her public commissions are on display in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area, including fountains at San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square and outside the Grant Hyatt near Union Square.
Her Japanese American Internment Memorial Sculpture is on display at the Federal Building in downtown San Jose.
"She took a mess of metal and turned it into a masterpiece," her grandson said.
Her youngest daughter Addie Lanier spoke about Asawa's declining health in the last part of her life, and how in the last five years of her life she was bedridden and unable to use her hands.
"Her hands were so important," Addie Lanier said. "She cooked, she sculpted, she drew."
On the back of the program for Tuesday's service was a recipe Asawa had concocted for ginger garlic salad dressing.
"She really cared about sharing with the next generation," Addie Lanier said.
Pelosi spoke about Asawa as a friend and said she considered her an integral component of the San Francisco arts and education scene.
"Ruth Asawa loved San Francisco and the feeling was mutual," Pelosi said. "This city adored her."
Pelosi vowed to tell her colleagues in Congress about Asawa's legacy and influence.
"It's really important for Congress to know the breadth of her work and the depth of respect she commanded," Pelosi said. "Ruth will be forever remembered."
DA Gascon Announces Expansion Of Anti-Truancy Program To Second School
A San Francisco anti-truancy program is expanding to a second high school starting this year, the city's district attorney announced Tuesday.
District Attorney George Gascon is expanding the program to Ida B. Wells Continuation High School after developing it over the past two years at Burton High School.
The school, which overlooks Alamo Square, provides an alternative learning environment for high school students with a history of low attendance or low academic achievement, and will now have two new counselors available to work with chronically truant students.
The district attorney's office has allocated $65,000 from its general fund for the two part-time counselors, as well as the same amount for two counselors to continue at Burton, where the program began in 2011.
Gascon said he hopes to eventually expand the program into every high school in the city.
"The work here does matter and is making a difference," he said.
He said after a student does not show up for school on time, a counselor in the program begins calling the student and family members to find out their whereabouts.
"It's a very immediate process," he said. "They'll do whatever it takes."
Gascon said the engagement of family and friends is important to prevent truancy, which often leads to students dropping out of school and getting into trouble.
"It takes the entire community to work on this," he said.
Ida B. Wells principal Richard Duber said the grant will help the school "create that personal connection, that bond that we know is the basis to enhance attendance."
Duber said, "Students have to know there's someone out there that cares, and students and their families have to know there's a support system."
Officials say chronic and habitual truancy has dropped 31 percent in the San Francisco Unified School District since 2007, when the district attorney's office began a partnership with the school district to combat the problem.
Families in need of truancy-related assistance are encouraged to contact the school district at (415) 241-3030.
3 Acres Burn In Vegetation Fire That Destroys Greenhouse in Novato
A greenhouse was destroyed in a vegetation fire in Novato this afternoon, a Marin County fire battalion chief said.
A resident in the Indian Valley area who saw smoke coming from a hillside in the west reported the fire at 1:11 p.m., Marin County fire Battalion Chief Mike Giannini said.
The fire was found burning several miles west of U.S. Highway 101 off Cabro Ridge. Firefighters attacked it on the ground and with air tankers dropping retardant.
The fire was prevented from spreading shortly after 2 p.m., and declared contained just before 3 p.m., Giannini said.
Three acres were charred in the blaze, Giannini said, which threatened homes in the area but spread to no inhabited structures, but did destroy a greenhouse.
No evacuations were ordered and no injuries were reported, he said.
Cal Fire and fire departments from Marinwood, San Rafael and Kentfield also responded.
Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area
Cloudy skies and dense patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, becoming partly cloudy later in the day.
Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog after midnight.
Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s to lower 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning.
Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.
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