Almanac

News - December 15, 2010

Fire consumes interior of cottage in Woodside

There isn't much that's undamaged in the one-story, two-bedroom cottage at 45 Mission Trail Road in northern Woodside after a suspected arc from the electric wall heater ignited the living room drapes around 9 p.m. Thursday night, Dec. 9, firefighters said.

The occupants, a woman in her 40s and her dog and two cats, escaped unharmed but the one-alarm fire consumed the living room, dining room, kitchen and one bedroom, and there was smoke damage throughout, said Battalion Chief Kevin Butler of the Woodside Fire Protection District.

The woman called 911 at 9:03 p.m. and firefighters were on the scene four minutes later. By that time, the fire had vented through a front window, was lapping at the roof, and was readily visible from the front gate 300 feet away, Mr. Butler said.

But while the fire had had a good head start, it didn't have much fight in it. "Once we actually put water on the fire, it was out within a matter of moments," Mr. Butler said.

Firefighters were on the scene for nearly two hours, but most of that was wetting down the structure and its contents to ensure that the fire was well and truly out, Mr. Butler said. The attic was "completely full of smoke" which then needed venting which then meant firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof, he added.

About 20 firefighters fought the blaze. Assisting Woodside were firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Redwood City and the Menlo Park fire district, Mr. Butler said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The house seemed to be about 40 years old, Mr. Butler said.

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