A fire that began when a worker rubbed an interior wall with his hand, creating static, destroyed a three-bedroom home on Edgewood Drive in Palo Alto and sent the worker to the hospital with a burned arm Tuesday afternoon.
The fire began at 2:06 p.m., at 1930 Edgewood Drive, near Greer Road. It took about an hour for firefighters from Palo Alto and Menlo Park to douse the flames, while smoke billowed out to the surrounding blocks.
The fire appeared to have started when a cabinet worker rubbed the wall with his hand, creating a static spark, said Mark Thomas, who was also working inside the Eichler-style house when the fire erupted. Within minutes, the flames spread throughout the whole house, Thomas said.
"I heard 'fire' and I reached for the water hose, but 30-40 seconds later, I saw the smoke build-up and I just had to run," Thomas said.
The wall had solvent on it, which accelerated the flames, Bloom said. The house was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
"The fire appeared to have started by solvent vapors flashing," Fire Deputy Chief Roger Bloom said. "These Eichlers — when they burn, they burn fast, especially when an accelerant is used."
The worker, whose name wasn't available Tuesday, was taken to Stanford Hospital with a burned right arm, Bloom said.
Because the structure was in danger of collapsing, firefighters attacked the flames from the outside, Bloom said.
The house had been undergoing renovations since March and workers were expecting to complete the remodeling process within a month, said house owner Anna Messner. She was staying at an apartment building in Palo Alto while the house was undergoing renovations. She said she wasn't sure whether her insurance company would cover the fire damage.
"We have to investigate this," Messner said. "I really don't know what we're going to do."