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Video: Arsonist attacks family-owned furniture store in West Oakland

By Betty Yu

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    OAKLAND, California (KPIX) — Dramatic video shows flames erupting in a West Oakland furniture store in a broad-daylight arson attack earlier in May with the family-run business now struggling to rebuild.

It only took seconds for flames to rip through couches and thick smoke to fill up Dimensional Outlet Furniture, a store on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland.

Video shows a man casually walk in moments earlier at around 2 p.m. on May 15. He appears to pour accelerant on couches before setting them ablaze and running out the door.

“I started screaming ‘Fire!’ I run out and try to warn my cousin, who’s in the warehouse, and then her partner who’s over in the bed area,” Dimensional Outlet Furniture manager David Nguyen. “And so they all get notified. So once I hit around here, I realized, ‘Oh shoot I gotta try and put out this fire.'”

Nguyen said he was able to successfully figure out how to put out the flames to save his store.

“I called 911, left the phone in my pocket. I looked for fire extinguishers. I used one and the fire was still there,” Nguyen remembered.

He said it took him ten minutes to reach a dispatcher when he called 911.

While most of the furniture on the floor may look fine, virtually every piece has smoke damage. He estimates the damages total up to $200,000.

“We’re slowly getting back to pre-COVID levels [of business], and then now we’re just like…nothing,” Nguyen said.

He said he’ll have to close his store for about two months to get things back in order. His family has owned Dimensional Outlet Furniture since 2006.

“Right now, it’s actually a really hard time to get furniture,” he said. “We have to plan five, six months in advance for furniture to come in for us, just because of supply-chain issues.”

His workers are temporarily out of their jobs. Normally Memorial Day weekend would have been good for business.

Oakland police said they are investigating the arson. The motive for the attack is unknown.

The family has set up an online fundraiser on GoFundMe; the page states that a public adjuster who assessed the damages to the business determined that they exceed what is covered in the insurance plan.

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