Dog rescued from Menlo Park house fire

Three-alram blaze destroys home on Valapraiso

A single-family, two-story home in Menlo Park was completely destroyed by a three-alarm fire this evening but not before firefighters were able to rescue the owners' pet dog, according to a Menlo Park Fire Protection District spokesman.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said they were first notified of the fire at 1 Chateau Drive by someone who came and knocked on the fire district door, advising firefighters of smoke at the residence near Valparaiso Avenue around 6:30 p.m.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived to the home to find it already about 40 percent consumed by flames and a second alarm was quickly called, Schapelhouman said.

The fire chief said there was some indication that the owners may have been home, leading nine firefighters to kick the door in and head up to the second floor.

The family's 2-year-old Labrador retriever was discovered there and rescued, said Schapelhouman, who added that the canine was given water and oxygen at the scene before being transported to a local veterinarian.

According to Schapelhouman, a third alarm was called around 6:45 p.m. and crews working to control the blaze from the roof were pulled off because of the instability caused by the fire.

A total of 12 engine companies, three ladder trucks, a breathing support unit and a number of battalion chiefs were all on the scene. The fire was controlled around 7:40 p.m., Schapelhouman said.

Investigators determined that the couple who lived in the home had left to go out for dinner after the husband had been working on building an entertainment center in the garage.

According to Schapelhouman, materials used to finish the entertainment center were most likely the cause of the fire that he called a "total loss."

Two homes on either side of the residence and one behind it received minor damage and no firefighters were injured during the incident.

The residents arrived to their home to find it destroyed and were "shocked and surprised," said Schapelhouman. While firefighters attempted to retrieve some of the couple's belongings from the wreckage, the wife said the one thing she wanted most was her wedding photos.

Schapelhouman said that Menlo Park is the only city in the fire district that does not have a sprinkler system requirement for homes. He said it's a shame that when the home is rebuilt, it still might not have a sprinkler system.

— Bay City News Service


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Erik
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Yeah...firefighters saved the dog from the second story of the home. Ummm...I was there and the dog was extricated from the back yard through the side gate and the firefighters had not even arrived yet. I also don't recall seeing the dog being given any sort of oxygen or water since the dog had already been handed off to a neighbor and she took it to another home for safekeeping. Maybe there was another chocolate lab in the house? I dunno. Good journalism. Anyway, feel very bad for the owner's loss.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2008 at 3:55 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Thank God the dog is safe (however it got out!) How terrible for the family, but the further loss of a family member (as pets indeed are) would have been even more devastating.

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