Chronicle Covers: The Oakland hills fire, a terrifying inferno -



Chronicle Covers: The Oakland hills fire, a terrifying inferno -


The Chronicle’s front page from Oct. 21, 1991, covers the Oakland hills fire that killed 25 people, injured 150, burned more than 3,000 homes and caused $1.5 billion in damage. “A murderous fire roared out of the East Bay hills yesterday, spreading panic, ruin and death through Oakland and Berkeley neighborhoods,” the story read. A small grass fire started on Saturday just above the Caldecott Tunnel and Highway 24, and crews rushed to the scene to extinguish it. A firefighter interviewed by The Chronicle said the land in the fire’s path “looked like Hiroshima.” “There were flames a hundred feet high at the outset, 50 feet high when it calmed down — all fed by huge old trees as dry as death after five years of drought,” current Chronicle columnist Carl Nolte wrote that day. Go to to search a database of hundreds of Chronicle Covers articles that showcase the newspaper’s 151-year history. Chronicle Covers is a yearlong project that will highlight one classic Chronicle newspaper page from our archive every day for 366 days.



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Chronicle Covers