Odd Roof Adds Challenge To Oakland Two-Alarmer

A two-alarm fire was quickly knocked down by Oakland firefighters Thursday, but not before it had caused considerable damage to the roof of the Merritt Bakery, a long-time neighborhood establishment near Lake Merritt.

Battalion Chief Lorenzo Frediani said flames were visible coming through the roof when firefighters arrived on the scene after getting a call at 6:45 a.m.

"Flames showing through the roof," he said. "Generally, we go inside and pull some ceiling and find the seed of the fire and we put it out. This fire was unusual because of construction of the roof, we were unable to attack it from the inside."

While the flames were extinguished quickly, firefighters were meticulously removing the roofing to make sure they had no lingering embers.

Mary Lou Groff was at work when she began to smell smoke.

"Things were going pretty much as normal," she said. "Some cakes were done; others were getting finished when we smelled smoke. We looked all around the kitchen and couldn't find any smoke so we knew it was coming from the restaurant."

Idaly Gutierrez, another employee, said the fire appeared to begin near a Lotto machine by a storage area in the restaurant.

The bakery's manager called 911 and hurried every one out of the building. There were no injures and cause of the blaze was still under investigation.

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