Two recent house fires that displaced two East Palo Alto families were caused by faulty wiring and combustible material left too close to a water heater, according to Menlo Park fire officials.
A blaze on Sunday, March 9, broke out at about 1:30 p.m. in a single-story home on the 2600 block of Fordham Street, displacing five adults and two children, according to family members.
The family was on their way to church when they received a phone call that their home was on fire, a family member, who preferred to remain anonymous, said.
The fire appears to have started with the wiring in an illegal addition, fire investigator Jon Johnston said.
The blaze had started in the addition at the back of the house and spread to the main living area. The cause appears to have been electrical, and extension cords going to the illegal addition are believed to have contributed, but the cause
remains under investigation, Johnston said.
While it was mainly confined to the two rooms, smoke and heat damage permeated the small house, he said.
The Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter was on scene and assisted the family. No one was injured.
Six adults and one baby were also displaced in a March 6 fire that was reported at 9:21 p.m. on the 2500 block of Hazelwood Way. The fire significantly damaged the home, garage and destroyed a vehicle in the driveway.
It began when combustible material was left too close to the hot water heater in the garage, Johnston said.
Someone opened the door to the garage, saw the fire and left the door open, which allowed the fire to spread to the rest of the house, Johnston said.
The garage was destroyed, as was a vehicle in the driveway. Damage to the house was significant.
The Red Cross provided the family with shelter and other aid, volunteer Jim Camarillo said.