A fire set in Palo Alto's public parking structure at 520 Webster St. that engulfed an unoccupied car on Monday night and prompted the closure of the garage is being investigated as arson, according to a statement from Palo Alto police. The blaze was the second fire set in a downtown garage on the same night.
City dispatchers received a call at 11:45 p.m. on Monday from a nearby resident who reported smoke billowing from the garage. Responding police officers and fire personnel found a black, 2007 four-door Toyota Avalon fully engulfed in flames on the basement level of the multistory garage. There were no injuries.
Additional units from Palo Alto and Mountain View fire departments were called to help extinguish the flames. City building officials have closed the garage for safety reasons until the structure is determined safe for reentry, police said.
Officers contacted the car owner, who had parked the vehicle in the garage that morning. The fire appeared to be suspicious. There is no suspect information, police said.
The fire was the second of the evening in a downtown parking structure. Fire personnel also responded to a blaze at 11:01 p.m. in Lot “S,” another city-owned parking garage, located at 445 Bryant St. They quickly extinguished a fire in a trash can on the basement level. There was no significant damage beyond the trash can, police said. Investigators are looking into whether this incident is related to the later fire.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.