Palo Alto firefighters put out a planter box fire at a one-story home in the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, Sunday night, Feb. 14, fire officials said.
The fire department responded to the fire at a home on the 500 block of Hilbar Lane at 8:36 p.m. on Valentine's Day.
When firefighters arrived they found the blaze at a 10-by-10-foot shed in the backyard of the home, Davis said. Crews knocked down the fire in 10 minutes, Battalion Chief Bobby Davis said.
"The fire started outside and we were able to keep it outside," Davis said.
The fire started inside a long planter box between two homes holding compost, which generated heat and burned into the plastic container, Davis said.
Nobody was injured and damage to the house was minimal, he added.
The blaze left an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 in damage to the property and its contents, which included expensive bicycles, Davis said.
Firefighters stayed on scene for more than two hours to perform "preventative work," Davis said, including checking the attic and roof of the house as well as a neighboring house to make sure the smoke and fire did not spread.
Janne Tamminen, who lives on Greer Road, said he heard a "loud popping sound" and went outside to check it out.
"At first we thought it's the neighbor doing something. We went to see outside and saw smoke and flames coming from across the street," Tamminen said.
A neighbor had called 911 already, he said, and it took about 10 minutes for the fire department to arrive on scene.
"We didn't go to Hilbar Lane, so we didn't see exactly what was on fire there but the fire department seemed to put the fire down fast," Tamminen said.
Hilbar Lane was closed so firefighters could knock down the fire and investigate the cause.