A four-alarm fire at a grocery store in Oakland’s Chinatown district Wednesday morning added still more smoke to the city’s already smoky skies. The fire, at Eighth and Webster streets, snarled traffic and attracted crowds of onlookers. Police closed Webster between Seventh and Eighth, and later closed Seventh at Franklin to stop traffic coming near the area.
Oakland’s air quality had improved over the last three days from “very unhealthy” to just “unhealthy” and even “moderate.” But this new fire could be smelled all over downtown and in West Oakland, in the direction the wind was blowing — a different smell than the wildfire smoke that had choked the city.
Oakland has been having a tough time lately. Just a few blocks from the fire, the streets around the Oakland police tower at Seventh and Broadway and the adjacent superior courthouse were not just closed, but barricaded.
Seen from West Oakland, the plume of smoke from this new fire rose to merge with the gray sky overhead.