Menlo Park fire destroys board-and-care home

Monday blaze on Bay Road displaces 14 veterans

Fourteen veterans were displaced from a group home in Menlo Park Monday in a two-alarm fire that forced some to jump from second-story windows, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

Initial reports stated the home was in East Palo Alto, but it is actually in Menlo Park near the border of East Palo Alto.

Flames blocked the only staircase in the home, located at 1208 Bay Road, but no injuries were reported, Schapelhouman said.

"This was a very difficult fire," he said. "We're very fortunate nobody was killed or injured, especially with people jumping out of windows."

One of the veterans told investigators he accidentally started the fire in the kitchen, Schapelhouman said. He then quickly helped other people leave the board-and-care facility.

Residents jumped from windows or were assisted by neighbors and others leaving the building, and they were all evacuated before the firefighters arrived, Schapelhouman said. He said the fire was reported at the 5,000-square-foot home at about 4:40 p.m. and controlled about 35 minutes later.

The sprawling house only had one staircase despite its maze of 11 bedrooms, he said. The fire spread to both floors and had burned through the stairs and the second-story floor.

"We're lucky nobody fell through," Schapelhouman said. "You can't see that in the smoke typically."

Schapelhouman said the fire destroyed the home, but crews stayed at the scene all night and resumed investigations Tuesday morning. Fire crews still need to confirm the fire started in the kitchen, he said.

The 14 veterans have been relocated. Forty-one personnel responded, including eight engines, two trucks and six chief officers, Schapelhouman said.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by citizen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Thank you fire dept for saving lives, bad fire, no fatalities or injuries.

Like this comment
Posted by tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

When did that address become Menlo Park, this fire was in East Palo Alto. Fire Fighters from the Menlo Park Fire District responded.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I was born and raised on Menalto St. forty nine years ago and everybody knows that East Palo Alto begins officially on Saratoga St.,.... And Menlo Park ends at Willow Rd. also there is a lot on 1100 Willow Rd. ,...that also belongs to East Palo Alto. so the fire protection has a different map from the city and county. That fire was very intense We got that guy out of the second floor window that you see on the news. It took only minutes for that fire to consumne that house. People get a fire extinguisher in your homes.

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