BY DANIEL MCGLYNN //
A small blaze, producing a big plume of smoke and flames visible from Interstate 80, broke out Friday afternoon on the west side of Albany Hill. Fortunately, due to a quick response, crews were able to prevent any serious damage.
Initially, the fire came close to threatening the high-rise Gate View apartment building at 555 Pierce Street in Albany, that is nestled between I-80 and the hill.
Albany police officer Steve Foss said, that at its climax the fire stretched from north to south about the width of the apartment complex and seemed to be moving down the hill. “It was going pretty good, but it’s well under control now,” he said.
Since most of the hill is a park, there were no other structures immediately in danger, according to Foss.
The Albany Fire Department, with assistance from El Cerrito and Richmond, were able to use fire roads in the heavily forested park to access the blaze and get control quickly.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Albany Hill, with an elevation of 338 feet above sea level, is a local landmark for both Albany and El Cerrito.
The upper portion of the hill, Albany Hill Park, is a Eucalyptus clad public open space.