Shane Bauer

Hellarity burns

How a cauldron of squatters and property owners, stirred by green dreams and the bursting housing bubble, set an unusual Oakland house ablaze

"The angels in the summertime are ashes in the fall. As Eden fell so heaven shall. I will burn them all."

The sign, written in gothic letters on weatherworn plywood with faded red flames, is nailed to the side gate of a two-story duplex off Martin Luther King Jr. Way in north Oakland. Today, the old sign's words carry a chilling new meaning, greeting visitors to a house whose insides were scorched by an unidentified arsonist.

The charred house has been a cauldron of contention for more than 10 years. Read more »