KTVU: Abandoned Oakland Development Sparks Fire Concerns


OAKLAND, Calif. -- A neighborhood association in Oakland has taken legal action to get overgrown vegetation cut back at the defunct Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, saying it presents a significant fire hazard. The group points out the worst of the fire season is near.

"The buildings look they've been burned," said nearby Oakland resident Pat Gibbons. "There are roofs missing, doors missing. We get people climbing over fences to steal stuff: cables, pipes, wires."

In 2005 Lehman Brothers financed the purchase of the Oak Knoll property and with its development partner Suncal. At the time, the investors had big dreams, envisioning 960 new homes plus retail and open spaces.

Then came the recession. Last fall, Suncal suspended all demolition work and plans for the site when its primary funding partner Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.

Since then, the property has been ignored and the vegetation has grown along with the fire danger.