http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/06/20/fire-stumps-investigators


Almanac

News - June 20, 2012

Fire stumps investigators

by Sandy Brundage

The cause of a garage fire at a Menlo Park home remains elusive, fire district officials said. A collapsed roof and extensive damage have so far hidden the cause from investigators.

The fire at 1041 Sierra Drive broke out late in the evening on June 3. Menlo Park firefighters responded to a neighbor's 911 call of "fire coming from the front of the building" around 10:43 p.m. and found the garage in flames.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the crew attacked the fire by going through the living quarters to "push the fire" out of the garage from the inside out. Five fire engines, one ladder truck and two battalion chiefs responded to the fire, with firefighters from Woodside supporting the Menlo Park squadron.

Six people and two cats were at home at the time of the fire and all escaped without incident. Two Acuras parked in the garage weren't so lucky. According to the chief, smoke detectors alerted the residents. When they went looking for the source of the fire and opened the interior door to the garage, they were hit with a blast of heat and smoke and quickly shut the door.

The 1960s single-story home was remodeled several years ago, Chief Schapelhouman said. The house lacked a fire suppression system required by current building standards, but did have a code-compliant wall between the garage and house designed to resist burning for up to one hour.

He estimated total damages at $165,000 to $200,000, including the loss of the cars.

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