Firefighters knock down Ventura neighborhood house fire


Firefighters quickly controlled a house fire on the 400 block of Fernando Avenue in Palo Alto on Wednesday evening.

The fire began sometime before 4:30 p.m. in a detached garage after a space-heater propane tank exploded, according to one of the home's residents. The flames spread to the main house, badly burning the inside and nearly completely destroying a nearby backyard shed.

One of the renters of the house was working in the detached garage, which he used as a home office, so he turned on the heater, according to his wife. He went inside for 10 minutes and came back into the garage because he smelled gas, and the heater exploded.

The couple ran out of the house. Their daughter also lives in the house, but wasn't there at the time, the wife said.

The couple were musicians and collected musical instruments, which had been in the garage where the tank had exploded.

Firefighters cut holes in the roof of the building, located near Boulware Park, and had controlled the blaze in the residence by 5:25 p.m.

Mountain View firefighters and Santa Clara County firefighters assisted the fight.

— Eric Van Susteren and Veronica Weber


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Posted by Katie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Thank you Palo Alto Fire Department!!! You are amazing!!! We need all of you !! Great Job!!! Thank you for being safe!

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Posted by Patrick
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I could see the smoke cloud from my kitchen window. So glad that everyone is safe.

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Posted by Samaritan
a resident of Barron Park School
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Fire fighters did respond but quickly locating fire hydrants was not as efficient due to budget cuts. I spent 1:07 minutes just trying to get help fast. The Palo Alto fire firefighter hydrant map was not up to date and the curbside hydrant, I believe had been moved when they replaced the water well and was not curbside, but put in the park. I myself tried to help keep it from spreading to other houses and garages. I got all vehicles out of the driveways and sprayed a water hose on the roof of house and fences to help prevent spread. There are several people that filmed I am disabled so it was hard for me to do much but we did get all people and cars away safely if anyone has the film I would love to see me in pain trying to help people to safety. Everyone is safe which is what matters. The gentleman that owned house had just walked out of garage when we heard a BOOM then smoke, 911 and hose to moisten wood to prevent spreading to other houses and garages, and while vehicles were being moved. I put down hose when police told me to and everyone was safely out of houses, vehicles removed, and firefighters had arrived 3-5 minutes approx after call and then another 5-10 approx. to find fire hydrant and that is when the garage next door started burning during the delay. I am writing this for all to realize the price anyone might have to pay if it was their house and fire hydrant maps and blue marks on side walks are not present and up to date. We are in the heart of Silicon Valley how can our maps not be up to date?? And no I am no hero I did what anyone would do help people in an emergency even in extreme pain and all was done safely and everyone and cars were safe and that's priceless pay it forward always

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Posted by grateful
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Thank you to our fire department heroes - we appreciate your fast response and recognize the dangerous work you are always ready to do for the community. Our heartfelt gratitude.

I'm also glad everybody is safe.

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah Seidner
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm

As a resident of the house, I'd just like to say how much we appreciate the support from everyone. Thank you.

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Posted by Samaritan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Sarah get a car charger !!! :) hope that put a little smile on your face during this trying time :) and smile you all are okay your father is very lucky as well as your mom and the neighborhood was very welcoming to help that is why that block is priceless to live on neighborhood watch is the best team work and all are still here to enjoy each other :) in the long term future

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Posted by Social Butterfly
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 16, 2014 at 3:22 am

Fernando Street was lit up like a Midway with all the police cars flashing red and blue lights and the many fire trucks and emergency vehicles shining under the huge towering light that shown down upon the damaged area...
So glad there was no loss of life due the explosion..and also glad that now updated info will be forthcoming for the future from the fire dept. It takes dedicated, emergency direct hard work and stamna to be a fire fighter......and our guys are just that! Thanks to the PAPD to help control the ever looking rubber neckers on El Camino.. the lookers just are thankful it's not in their backyards, no matter what was going on!....

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Posted by observer
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

@Sarah Seidner if you are a resident, don't you live in Ventura not Barron Park? What's with all the fires in Ventura? Web Link

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Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

In case the gas furnace WAS a factor, please remember to get annual safety check for all gas appliances!

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Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 17, 2014 at 10:22 am

I am relieved that everyone (including the cat!) is safe. We saw our tax dollars at work in the job the fire department did in containing the fire. And the neighbors rallied to help during the moment of need.

However, I'm disappointed that the fire department's efforts may have been delayed by not locating the closest fire hydrant which is about 100 feet away but partially obscured by a hedge in front of Boulware Park. This kind failure feeds the perception that the City neglects our neighborhood. Dying street trees (one of which recently crushed a parked car on Fernando), vehicle dwellers, sub-standard sidewalk and tree maintenance, poor park upkeep, lack of speed bumps around the park, little to no attention to safe routes to schools, cut-through traffic, and the impact of development along Park Boulevard are big issues in this diverse, working-class neighborhood (of lesser means than other Palo Alto neighborhoods) that the City finds easy to sweep under the rug. It's long past time for the City to pay more attention to our neck of the woods rather than just responding to those who have the luxury of more time to bend council members' ears.

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Posted by Samaritan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Jonathan I have been asking for years for speed bumps and prior to car being crushed, I called arborist so many times they asked me to stop calling. I explained they were close to wires and had moss that made them look dangerous. I called at least 3-4 times from January to June approx. owner of car is aware and pursing now. She just got proper paper work after 21 calls 3 appearances and several other detours to avoid the truth, the man that came out each time did not do his job. As for speed bumps they say we need to file a petition. A car today went at least 60-70 and almost hit a car in front of one of the fire damaged houses and a lady sitting in her car it appeared as though she was the target too :/ hoping for speed bumps and arborist to do there job soon. Once the pafd got hoses running from park that actually didn't put out the fire the other hose coming from other side of house appears to have put out the bulk of it pressure checks should be preformed as someone is creating a new map for firefighters to be more efficient :) neighborhood watch in that neighborhood is almost around the clock and very efficient thus all the friendliness and compassion everyone has, everyone has known each other for decades if not more :)

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Posted by Samaritan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by watts
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm

of course no report on another rwc toxic fire that smelled just like sims plant. once again you did not wear mask because you thought it COULDNT be another toxics fire....WRONG!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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