Body found in East Palo Alto trailer fire

Blaze started at abandoned Romic chemical refinery site

Menlo Park firefighters fighting a fire at the former and abandoned Romic chemical refinery site found a body in a trailer early this morning, fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

The fire was reported at the Bay Road site in East Palo Alto at about 1 a.m. Firefighters found a construction-style office trailer on fire. A body was discovered in the burned-out shell and debris.

Several trailers and storage containers are the only items left on the former refinery plant site since it shut down in 2007 and was disassembled.

"There was no power to the trailers and no reason for anyone to be out here," Schapelhouman said. The cause is under investigation, but the victim is thought to be a homeless person who possibly used the trailer for shelter.

Investigators are working together to determine the identity of the deceased and the cause of the fire. At this point, the fire does not appear suspicious, East Palo Alto police Commander Jeff Liu said.

The East Palo Alto Police Department is actively searching the neighborhood for community members that may have information about the incident and the identity of the deceased person. Police ask them to call the East Palo Alto police dispatch at 650-321-1112; Detective Tommy Phengsene at 650-798-5944 or by sending an anonymous email to, anonymous text to 650-409-6792 or anonymous voice mail to 650-409-6792.

The East Palo Alto Police Department, San Mateo Coroner's Office and Menlo Park Fire Protection District investigators are all working together on the case. No further information is currently available.


42 people like this
Posted by Samantha
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:09 am

Can it possibly be Miguel Melendrez, a student attending Redwood High. Word is that he's missing. Any verification of his whereabouts would be good to hear. Thank you

31 people like this
Posted by Samantha L
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Samantha L is a registered user.

Please tell me its not true. Please tell me its not Miguel Melendrez. Its too soon. I just need some verification. His friends & family are worried. Everyone is starting to think he's dead.. 😔

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