A midday blaze that burned a two-story home on Tuesday forced a family of four to flee the building and caused police to evacuate surrounding residences in Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood, Battalion Chief Ryan Stoddard said.
Palo Alto Fire Department responded to the blaze in the 2400 block of Bryant Street near Oregon Expressway at about 12:20 p.m. after a report of a fire that started on the first floor. Flames quickly spread to the home's exterior, into the second floor and in the attic, Stoddard said.
Palo Alto police also evacuated residents from three homes — on either side and behind the burning building, according to Stoddard. No one was injured.
The firefighters knocked down and contained the blaze in about 15 to 20 minutes, then spent hours tearing out walls and ceilings to extinguish hidden flames. Heat from the blaze also caused small propane tanks used for barbecuing to release gas, catch fire and shoot flames, he said. Crews were able to eventually extinguish them.
Officers closed southbound Bryant Street at Oregon Expressway and Bryant at Colorado Avenue to traffic, according to fire dispatch communications.
Palo Alto fire crews were able to contain the two-alarm blaze with assistance from Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County firefighters. In all, three battalion chiefs, four engines, three trucks, one ambulance team and breathing apparatus were brought on scene, he said.
Investigators suspect the fire started in a back corner of the living room, Stoddard said. An investigation is still ongoing into the cause of the blaze.
Stoddard said the home is uninhabitable and displaced two parents and two teenage children, who planned to stay with family or friends. He did not have a cost estimate on the damage.