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Youngsters escape Atherton house fire

Afternoon blaze causes $200,000 in damage

A fire caused more than $200,000 in damage to a large ranch-style home in Atherton late this afternoon, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

Three children, ages 12, 14 and 16, were inside when the fire started but managed to escape unharmed.

The single-alarm blaze damaged a 5,000-square-foot, single-story home at 251 Greenoaks Drive. Schapelhouman said a neighbor reported seeing heavy smoke at about 4:15 p.m.

It appears the blaze started in the motor compartment of a Ford Expedition and spread to a breezeway, then through the attic and wood-shingled roof, Schapelhouman said.

Twenty-four firefighters responded and had the fire controlled by 4:43 p.m.

Schapelhouman said the fire caused $150,000 to $200,000 in damage to the structure and approximately $50,000 in damage to contents. The house will not be habitable tonight, he said.

The official cause of the fire is under investigation.

— Bay City News Service

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