Oakland - On Monday, July 9, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Jobs & Housing Coalition (JHC) CEO Greg McConnell joined Oakland Fire Chief Darin White and Assistant Chief of Police Leronne Armstrong to announce the launch of a tip line and reward fund for information that leads to the arrest and charging of individuals responsible for arson or arson-related activities in Oakland.
JHC established a $300,000 reward fund and will pay a reward to the person or persons that provide information to Oakland Fire Department and/or the Oakland Police Department leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist or arsonists responsible for setting fire to any multifamily residential building under construction in the City of Oakland.
The fund was financed entirely by members of the Jobs & Housing Coalition, and will serve as an incentive for individuals to come forward with information on fires that have occurred at construction sites. It also aims to encourage the reporting of information about potential destructive acts that could harm or delay other development projects in progress across the city, as well as eliminating the threats that these fires pose to neighboring communities.
We only have 6,650 units of housing under construction, and more is needed. Mayor Libby Schaaf stated that "every new unit of housing is going to help this Bay Area region start to stabilize what is now an unsustainable housing market." We also need to keep this community safe, and we are serious about that.
Mayor Schaaf expresses her gratitude as she continues that "we are pleased with the Jobs and Housing Coalition for its generous reward."
This announcement came shortly after the one year anniversary of the Broadway-Valdez fire which occurred on July 7, 2017. Federal investigators announced in August 2017 that the cause of that construction site fire was “undetermined” despite its similarities to other East Bay arson blazes, according to a statement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
However, "a certain pattern to the fires that leads us to believe it's the work of an individual or group of individuals that are working together,” remarked Greg McConnell.
This act will be another step towards finding out who is doing this, and to stopping them, with every intention to rebuild Oakland.
- There were two (2) fires in mixed-use or multi-family structures under construction in Oakland since 2016.
- The first on Lester Avenue near Lake Merritt was determined to have been arson.
- Two (2) separate fires at a mixed-use project called the Intersection located in Emeryville were determined to have been arson.
- The cause fire at the Alta Waverly housing project on Valdez Street is undetermined.
- The reward will be payable within 65 days of the conviction. If the arsonist is convicted without any person having providing information that led to their arrest and conviction no payment will be made.