A house on 907 Buchanan Street in Albany caught on fire at around 6 pm Monday. The fire lasted for several hours before firefighters put it out. The house was severely burned but no person was injured.
Bienvenido Galas, a tenant who lives there, said he was sleeping in his room when he sensed something went wrong.
“Suddenly everything was hot, ” he said.
He ran out of his in his pajamas. Several hours later, as 21 firefighters and several firetrucks from Albany and three neighboring cities worked to put out the fire, Galas sat on the concrete steps in front of a neighbor’s house watching. He looked scared, still in his pajamas.
The owner of the house, Dr. Gaspar Sardalla, watched as thousands of his books turn to ashes. Sardalla is a professor at the San Francisco City College, teaching classes on history of Asian countries and a variety of humanities subjects.
He had more than 5,000 books — the books on East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia stored on the first floor and garage, and books on Asian Americans on the second floor, as well as more than 1,000 documentary films stored in the house, where he had lived for 30 years.
“Now all the books are gone, ” he said as he stood on the sidewalk several feet away from the burning house, looking anxious, and holding a small fire extinguisher bottle in his hand.
He said there was nothing he could do except for calling the Fire Department for help, when he came back home and found the house was burning.
A fifteen-feet-tall pine tree in the back yard of the house caught on fire as well. Flame could be seen from several blocks away, threathing to spread the fire to neighboring houses before firefighters used fire hoses to put it out .
“We took actions so the fire didn’t extend to other houses, ” said Captain Jay Jorgenson of Albany Fire Department.
Seven firefighters from Albany and 14 from Berkeley, El Cerrito and Richmond worked together to handle the accident.
Article by Linjun Fan.