A two-alarm fire that displaced dozens of residents from a Pleasant Hill apartment building on Tuesday morning started in a construction debris box in the building’s first-floor garage, a county fire spokesman said.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 a.m. in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Road. One apartment in the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Marshal Robert Marshall said.

Three residents of the apartment escaped the blaze after being awakened by smoke detectors.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to control the fire, but four units are expected to be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.

The fire started in a debris box for crews working on the building’s balconies, checking them for rot and making improvements, Marshall said. The fire spread into the apartment through the floor.

Fire investigators have not determined why the fire started in the debris box but so far think it’s probably accidental.

The apartment the fire spread to was left gutted. Another two apartments shared a firewall that was extensively damaged by the blaze and needs to be replaced. A fourth unit across the stairwell from those sustained minor damage, Marshall said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

RELATED STORY: Fire Rips Through Pleasant Hill Apartment – Working Smoke Alarms Credited with Saving Family




This year’s four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend reflects a steady increase of Californians projected to travel since 2009, according to AAA.





We all love seeing pictures of our local river otters.

This guy (or girl) was captured on camera by Shannan Kral, who said he was spotted in the canal near Heather Farm Park today.

Thanks to Shannan for the photos.





A kitten was rescued from a storm drain in Concord on Monday.

Beth, who sent us this story, said “Bill and a crew from the City of Concord Public Works Department and Stephanie from Animal Control responded promptly and worked hard, along with the neighbors, to get the kitten out.”

The kitten had to be flushed out with water but the endeavor was successful and the kitten was taken to the Martinez Animal Shelter.

Way to go, thanks to Beth for the photos and the story, and thanks to those of you who helped rescue the cute little creature.




We’ve posted this one in the past, but love to post it around Thanksgiving.

This is a 72-year-old Thanksgiving Day menu from the U.S. Naval Barracks at Port Chicago.

Delicious, and you even get cigarettes for dinner!

Click on each photo for a larger view.

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: news@claycord.com. It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!

RELATED STORY: The Claycord Online Museum – An Old Mess Hall Tray from the Concord Naval Weapons Station



The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

A person has been camped outside of Best Buy in Pleasant Hill since Saturday, waiting for Black Friday.

QUESTION: How long would you wait in line for something you really, really wanted to purchase? An hour, 12 hours, a day, two days, a week or more?

Talk about it….


The Holiday Ice Rink in Downtown Martinez is NOW OPEN.

The 50×80 rink is open through Jan 3, 2016 and features public skating, a skating academy, family skate nights, birthday parties, private parties, and more!

The rink is located on the corner of Ferry St. and Marina Vista Ave. in Downtown Martinez.

Visit www.downtownholidayice.com for more information on the ice rink.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Please visit the Claycord.com Facebook page to enter to win tickets to the ice rink.

photo credit: Craig Cannon – for use only on Claycord.com

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The Boy Scouts of America held their annual Scouting for Food drive on Saturday, and they collected a huge amount of donations for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano.

Scouts asked for canned goods, peanut butter, cereal, pancake mix, crackers, rice, beans, pasta, dried fruit or snack bars.

All food was collected on Saturday morning, and as of today, the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano says they took in 118,704 pounds of food.

Nice job, Boy Scouts of America.


Firefighters responded to a two-alarm structure fire at an apartment complex in Pleasant Hill, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The blaze started at about 3:30 a.m. in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Road, according to Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.

Marshall said it appears the fire started in a downstairs parking area and spread to the upstairs unit.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control by 3:52 a.m.

The fire damaged at least one unit, and there is smoke damage to other units.

Marshall said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

There have been no reported injuries in the fire, and working smoke alarms are being credited with saving the family.

Marshall said it appears several people will end up being displaced by the fire.

photo credit: Craig Cannon



If you hear a jackhammer in Downtown Concord right now, it’s because workers from the City of Concord are fixing a decades-old sewer line that has begun to collapse, apparently causing blockages and infiltration.

The jackhammering will last until at least after midnight, and the project, which was announced last week, will wrap-up on Tuesday evening.

RELATED STORY: REMINDER: Sewer Line Repair Work to Affect Evening Traffic in Downtown Concord


A helicopter is circling above Ayers Rd. near Concord Blvd. in Concord.

We’re hearing the police are possible for looking for two vehicle theft suspects.

UPDATE, 11:05pm: The helicopter is gone. No suspects have been located.




Cold, rainy and windy weather is set to hit the Bay Area this week as people travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the National Weather Service.

Light rain is expected in the region late tonight or early Tuesday, with rainfall amounts not likely to exceed a half-inch, weather service officials said.

By late Wednesday night and Thanksgiving morning, temperatures in the region may drop to near freezing, but

Thursday is expected to remain dry, according to the weather service.

The cold weather system will bring northwest winds starting Tuesday, with the strongest gusts near the coast reaching 35 to 40 mph, weather service officials said.

Forecasters said slick roadways from the wet and cold weather could cause longer travel times for commuters or those hitting the road for Thanksgiving. People going over the Sierra Nevada should closely monitor travel conditions because snow is forecast there this week, according to the weather service.

RELATED STORY: VIDEO: Your Claycord, East Bay Weather Forecast from KPIX 5 – Nov.23, 2015



Concord police are seeking a suspect and motive in the fatal shooting of a homeless man on Friday night and hope that surveillance camera footage might provide some leads.

Arturo Fernando Arellano, 36, was shot shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday in the area of Monument Blvd. and Erickson Rd., according to police.

Arellano was found lying in the roadway with multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police Cpl. Christopher Blakely today said Arellano was a self-reliant man who did not cause problems and was friendly with local police.

“He kind of stayed in his lane and did his own thing,” Blakely said, noting that he had just spoken to Arellano the afternoon before the shooting.

“At that time he was fine, we were even joking around,” Blakely said.

The motive for Arellano’s shooting remains unclear and police are canvassing the area, interviewing witnesses and searching for surveillance camera footage that might provide clues, Blakely said.

Arellano’s family is also hoping for answers and has held a vigil the last couple of nights at the scene of the shooting.

Alan Arellano, Arturo’s older brother, and Antolin Gomez, his stepfather, were among the family members who drove up from Southern California.

Arturo, one of nine children, was originally from the Bay Area but most of his family later moved to Southern California, they said. He stayed in touch with the family and saw them occasionally but declined to stay or accept help.

“He’s one of the small percentage of individuals who are homeless that make that choice,” Gomez said.

“No matter how much we’d try, he would come and then he’d go back, and there’s nothing you can do, that’s his choice,” Gomez said.

The family described Arturo as someone who was more interested in helping other people than in helping himself. Alan Arellano said he had been moved by the number of people who came forward to pay their respects at the vigil, including many who said Arturo had helped them find a job or a home.

“I didn’t know how much love he had,” Alan Arellano said. “He was somebody who was rich in love and not in possessions.”

The family plans to continue their vigil this afternoon at the scene of the murder and said they hope someone will come forward with information that will help bring some answers.

Arturo, according to his family, passed away on his daughter’s birthday.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.

Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/58bpdwb2 to make a donation.



A vehicle struck a fire hydrant on Bates Ave. near Port Chicago Hwy. in Concord this afternoon.

No information on the crash is currently available, but if you’re in the area, use caution because there is quite a bit of water on the road.

Thanks to Ronald for the photo.



A Claycordian in Pleasant Hill won $39,776 after getting 5 out of 5 numbers, but not the mega number during Saturday night’s SuperLotto drawing.

The person purchased the winning ticket at the 7-Eleven on Pleasant Hill Rd. in Pleasant Hill.

If they would have gotten the mega number, they would have won $17-million.

7-Eleven stores in the City of Pleasant Hill seem to be a little lucky. In June of this year, a person bought a CA Lottery Scratcher from the 7-Eleven on Golf Club Rd., and won $1-million.

RELATED STORY: $1 Million Lottery Ticket Purchased at 7-Eleven in Pleasant Hill


A teenage boy was rescued after sliding partially down a ledge at Rock City in Mount Diablo State Park late this morning, a San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District deputy chief said.

Fire crews responded at 11:16 a.m. to a report of a 14-year-old boy who was at Sentinel Rock with friends and climbed outside of a railing there, then slid down a ledge into an area where he couldn’t climb back up, Deputy Chief Lon Phares said.

Phares said the boy “got lucky he didn’t slide all the way” down the ledge, a distance of about 100 feet.

Crews set up a rope rescue operation, lowering a rescuer down to the boy and attaching a harness to him. The boy was then lowered the rest of the way down the ledge to safety, according to Phares.

He suffered only minor abrasions to a leg and did not require transport to a hospital, Phares said.