20 years later, Oakland firestorm memories still crackle


In 1991, now-Oakland Fire Lieutenant Sherri Banks was a firefighter working out of Berkeley’s Station 13. When she was called to the now infamous fire around noon, she was speechless:

 “I was lost for words when I got there,” Banks said.  “I remember we were on the freeway. I couldn’t see anything until I got to Highway 24. The smoke looked like a mushroom cloud. But part of our training requires us to be fearless.”

Oakland North’s video includes an especially bumpy ride-along in a firetruck through the Oakland Hills.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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