An early-morning fire that erupted at Palo Alto High School Thursday, May 24, will likely delay construction of new classrooms, a Palo Alto fire official said.
Firefighters responded to a call at 5:23 a.m. about a burning homeless encampment that spread from the adjacent Caltrain right of way at Alma Street and Embarcadero Road. The fire, which was near the bicycle path, ignited insulated construction pipes, causing $100,000 in damages, fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard said.
"It will cause a significant delay in the construction at the school," Woodard said the project's construction manager told him.
The chiller pipes, which were for the building chilling and cooling system, had just been delivered from Texas, he added.
In a later e-mail to school district staff, Paly Principal Phil Winston said, "There was damage to the bike path fence and to the insulation around a group of pipes. This should not have a major impact on the construction schedule and nobody was injured, thankfully."
Firefighters had the blaze extinguished in 25 minutes, using three pieces of equipment, Woodard said. Investigators do not yet know what caused the blaze, but Woodard said it did not appear intentional. No one was injured and no school buildings were in danger.
The man whose belongings ignited has not been charged in the incident and Palo Alto police are still investigating, Woodard said.