Family escapes from three-alarm Palo Alto house fire

Fire crews from four cities plus county respond to blaze at 104-year-old Professorville home

Firefighters Saturday battled a difficult three-alarm fire in a Professorville neighborhood home in Palo Alto Saturday, calling in crews from several nearby cities and Santa Clara County to aid in the putting it out.

The fire was reported at 11:31 a.m. in the 1100 block of Bryant Street, near Kingsley Avenue.

When firefighters arrived, they encountered smoke within the house, but the location of the flames was not immediately apparent, Deputy Chief Catherine Capriles told Palo Alto Online.

That's because the 2,800-square-foot, two-story home, built in 1912, has "balloon framing," which allows fire to travel inside the walls unseen.

"We had to find the fire," Capriles said.

The blaze appeared to be coming from the two-story home's attic, fire officials said initially. However, it's possible that the fire started in the home's basement and involved the furnace, Capriles said Saturday afternoon. An investigation to determine the cause is ongoing.

Crews from around the area -- Menlo Park, Mountain View, Santa Clara and Santa Clara County -- were called in to fight the blaze and brought it under control within an hour, Capriles said.

The home's residents, a family of four, were able to safely evacuate before firefighters arrived, officials said.

The family was offered assistance by the American Red Cross but has made alternate arrangements.

All fire crews left by 3:15 p.m., Capriles said, but Palo Alto personnel plan to return Saturday evening to ensure that there are no hot spots.

— Bay City News and Palo Alto Weekly staff


5 people like this
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:07 am

I was out for a walk Saturday and heard the sirens. Lots of commotion indeed.
I want to thank the Palo Alto Fire Department for calling in mutual aid, and a big thanks to the neighboring agencies who responded. The potential was there for a conflagration but thankfully it did not happen. They were well-prepared.
Best wishes to the family whose home was badly compromised in the fire.

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