Easter Sunday blaze sparked by oily rags

Downtown fire broke out in city Development Center building

A fire at an office under remodeling in downtown Palo Alto across from City Hall early Sunday morning caused about $50,000 in damage, fire officials said Monday.

An on-duty officer saw the blaze at 285 Hamilton Ave. and reported it to dispatch shortly before 4 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Catherine Capriles said.

Firefighters arrived to find the blaze on the fourth floor at an office for Houzz, a Palo Alto-based company that runs an online home-design website, according to Capriles.

The fire was briefly upgraded to a second-alarm response but was quickly downgraded, she said.

Firefighters broke windows to release smoke at the office space and extinguished the blaze by about 4:15 a.m., according to Capriles.

Investigators found a pile of oily rags that sparked the fire, she said.

The fire caused around $50,000 in damage to the office's contents, according to Capriles.

No injuries were reported and the building was unoccupied when the fire started, Capriles said.

The building also houses the city's Planning and Community Environment Department's Development Center, which takes up the first and second floors and was not impacted by the fire, she said.

— Bay City News Service

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