Ruins of the 1991 fire

As you explore Oakland, you come upon places where something has been erased and not yet replaced.

oakland hills fire

The Oakland Hills fire of October 1991 left these, the first on Acacia Avenue and the other two on Roble Road.

oakland hills fire

There must be reasons for each of these remaining ruins after almost twenty years. But here they are, some quite public and others in quiet privacy. People pass and pay them no mind. Another few decades and the traces might be gone.

oakland hills fire

I got an odd request last year: Henry K. Lee, author of Presumed Dead, asked me to visit the spot in the Oakland Hills where a notorious murderer put the body of his victim. He wanted to know how a geologist would describe the ground there. It was shale, crumbling and easily dug. The place was shrouded in oak woods, but everyday life was within earshot: lawn equipment whining, bicyclists conversing, dogs. The site—which I will not call a grave—was still being visited. But its traces should be left to vanish.

3 Responses to “Ruins of the 1991 fire”

  1. rob Says:

    by the way, they just started construction on the lot in the topmost picture of this blog entry…

  2. Andrew Says:

    Drop me a note. I’m going to edit your address for privacy.

  3. alfred Janske Says:

    Dear Andrew,

    We recently had our basement dug out and have saved as many rocks as we could while hauling away nearly 90 cubic yards of stuff. I see that you were the gentleman who’s talk we missed at Dimond Library.

    We have found that most of the red, green, brown rocks are chert, but we have a number of other rocks. Some rocks are cinnabar.

    It appears that the chert was in yellow sand or mud, and many were rubbed smooth. But we have blue stones and some light yellow ones that seem like compressed sand.

    We live [on Park Blvd].

    I was hoping to have someone come by and help us with identification of the various rocks.

    Al & George Janske

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