Fire investigation at Oakland’s landmark Sunshine Biscuits building


The cause of a two-alarm fire Saturday afternoon at the former Sunshine Biscuits building in East Oakland is under investigation, the Oakland Fire Department said.

Crews arriving at the building about 1:35 p.m. saw flame visible from the fourth floor of the building at 851 81st Ave. and quickly issued a second alarm, fire officials said. Many of the building’s residents had evacuated and a search was conducted to ensure nobody else was still inside, the department said. Crews controlled the fire by 2:18 p.m., the department said.

There were no injuries reported, but whether any residents were displaced and the extent of damage to the 79-year-old building are still to be determined.

Once the factory for the cookie, cracker and cereal company, the Sunshine Biscuits building is now mixed-use, hosting both residential and office space. The factory shut down in 1995 and Sunshine officially merged with the Keebler Company in 1996, but their bright red sign, now singed with soot, greets many in Oakland still. 

The fire appeared to originate on a fourth floor exterior deck and then spread inside the building, the department said. The first units responding to the scene knew the layout of the building already, which helped them to quickly tamp down the blaze.

“Millions of dollars of property saved due to our members’ efforts,” Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said on Twitter.

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