A man was fatally shot inside the store Saturday night and the blaze is being investigated as arson
OAKLAND — Firefighters battled a single-alarm fire late Wednesday night at an East Oakland liquor store where a man was fatally shot last week.
Authorities said the fire appeared to have been deliberately set but have not yet said if they believe the arson is connected to the killing.
At 11:05 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire at Booker’s Grocery Liquor at the corner of 90th Avenue and Olive Street in the city’s Webster neighborhood.
A battalion chief accompanied three engines and a truck to the address, where firefighters forced their way into the closed store and worked to beat back flames in the property’s roof and ceiling while searching for any possible occupants.
Police also responded, blocking eastbound Olive traffic at 92nd Avenue to assist firefighter efforts.
A fire investigator at the scene confirmed the blaze would be investigated as arson and noted its two points of origin on the rooftop as a key indicator.
“A fire on a roof is an unusual place to have a fire. The fire was not associated with any equipment or possible heat source that was already on the roof,” Javan Smith, an Oakland Fire investigator, said.
“We’re looking at it as an arson because of that reason as well as the fact that there were two points of origin on the roof. Two separate fires on the roof — you generally can’t have two accidental fires at the same time, same place. I guess you could theoretically, in some universe. But not ours.”
Some gunshots were reported in the area before the fire but no victims were found.
The homicide happened last Saturday night when a 25-year-old Oakland man was fatally shot inside the store after getting into a dispute with another person. Police have not released a motive in the killing and have not announced any arrests. It was the city’s 41st homicide of the year and third that day.