News

Woodside house fire extinguished

 

Firefighters have extinguished a structure fire at around 3:50 p.m. that appears to have burned part of a garage in a large two-story house at 900 Espinosa Road off Highway 84 near Skyline Boulevard in Woodside, according to firefighters communicating via two-way radio monitored by the Almanac.

Six fire trucks were on the scene, with two battalion chiefs there to organize the effort, according to an online account of the incident. The smoke in the home was 80 percent dispersed, a firefighter said at about 3:55 p.m.

The house reportedly has a wooden shake roof and shake siding. Firefighters had been on the roof of the garage and may have cut a hole there to ventilate the fire in the garage, the radio exchanges said.

They considered ventilating the roof above the residence but did not because the fire had not spread that far, having only "minimal extension" into the attic, according to radio exchanges.

A car in the garage may have been damaged. Firefighters were heard looking for the owner so they could open the car and roll it out of the garage.

Comments

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Posted by What?!
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

What!?? SIX firetrucks........for a garage?? THIS is the kind of nonsense, money wasting that goes on in this fire district. Please Fire District Board, work hard on saving and cutting, this is overkill!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Dear What? - this location is relatively isolated and it would be foolish to have an initial response that turned out to be inadequate. 911 callers are seldom able to properly assess the extent of a fire or the risk that it represents to adjacent structures and the dispatchers quite properly assume the worst. There is a 'run sheet' for every address that specifies what should be dispatched in response to a 911 call. For example, a 911 call from a school generates a very large response regardless of what the 911 caller might say is the problem - much better to be safe than sorry.

Would you like the 'run sheet' for your house to be reduced to a single engine? And would your neighbors agree?


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Posted by Not to save the house Rich
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

They sent one to save the house, the others to prevent the neighborhood from going up. A poorly maintained wood shake roof not only catches fire quicker, it spreads fire faster to adjoining areas. Even after the rain last week, it'd be insane not to over-respond in a wooded area.

Not as insane as a lay person thinking it's a waste of taxpayer dollars, however.... but that's okay, you're down the hill in MP and safe, so obviously it's a waste of money.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

What? - go to Google Earth and look at this address. It is surrounded by highly combustible trees and there are about eight adjacent homes all on a narrow cul-de-sac. All the ingredients for a tragedy.

The six engine response was exactly what was called for by the circumstances.
And that dispatch was made in less than 60 seconds from the time of the 911 call because professionals had assessed this situation in advance and written up the precise 'run sheet' that was followed.


Like this comment
Posted by What?!
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

6 Firetrucks, not 3 or 4, 6. There is no way, regardless of the terrain, that you need this many trucks as first responders. We live in Silicon Valley, do we not have the technological knowhow to communicate better? Perhaps a better strategy would be to send half the amount, and then call on the other 3, if in fact the trees are "highly combustible" during the late fall, after rain the previous week, etc.? I would bet that there is not a huge fear of a fire spreading, in the current conditions. This issue and concern on my part, falls along the lines of sending a huge $200K truck every time someone falls off a curb, or has heartburn. An investment in a much smaller vehicle needs to take place. I wonder out loud the cost of each of these incidents.......cost of gas, insurance, man/woman power, etc. Overkill.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What - You are simply wrong.

As a former wildland firefighter (Smokejumper USFS) I can assure you that six trucks was NOT an over reaction. Remember the Oakland hills fire (which was in October) - the initial response was one truck and look what happened.
"The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (6.2 km²) destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion."

Either you hit a fire in such a location hard and fast or you have to be prepared for a much bigger fire with huge losses


Like this comment
Posted by Not to save the house Rich
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

"I wonder out loud the cost of each of these incidents....... Overkill."

Well, sounds like we found the new fire chief!!! Hope your last name is Brown, so we can just recycle a phrase in a couple years: "Heckuca job, Brownie!"

Even your own statement is riddled with qualifiers: perhaps, if, "etc.?", would bet, not a huge fear, on my part, change the subject to someone falling off a curb, heartburn, wonder out loud.... You are debating something about which you have little actual knowledge.

There was a fire in Woodside a dozen years ago and we lost about a block in a heartbeat, with the potential for catastrophic loss if the response wasn't immediate.

Why on earth would you want to risk it? And risk everyone's insurance rates going up?


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

And if the surrounding homes and trees caught fire and caused a tragedy, Mr. What? would be the first to complain about the department's ineffective response.

Resist second guessing our first responders who have to make decisions in real time - not from the luxury of their laptop days after the incident.


Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Still not convinced, and no one addressed better technology or communication to fix this problem. I am the son of a volunteer fireman, so I have some reference from which to draw upon.(the emphasis here is volunteer). California has gotten so used to the overkill bloated budgets for this service, we cannot even discuss alternatives. Feel free to tell me I am not qualified or tell me one of your isolated war stories, I am a taxpayersego is very tired of paying for an out of control budget. If only this service was privatized, we would then discover real efficiencies, and less anecdotal info from bloggers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What is anecdotal about reminding you that the Oakland hills fire " ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (6.2 km²) destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion."?

What is anecdotal about an experienced wildland firefighter telling you that six fire engines was not an over reaction?

Would destroyed homes and dead bodies be your only acceptable answer?


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Like every other [portion deleted] sitting in a swivel chair, What? doesn't have a clue what first responders are confronted with. And like every other second guesser, no matter what the first responders do it would be wrong. Six engines - too many engines responding. Fewer than that and they can't contain the fire - "too few. What the hell were those incompetents thinking?"

What?: when you actually step up and have to act in an emergency you can bitch about how these people respond.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I would much rather have too many trucks out there than too few.

Returning to their stations without deploying hoses isn't the end of the world.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 5:51 am

What - my concern is not convincing you, that seems impossible.

My concern is making sure that other readers of this Forum understand what claptrap you are spouting. A tiny fire in the hills is a huge disaster in the making. See above regarding the Oakland hills fire. And closer to home look at the Summit Fire in 2008 with 4,270 acres burned and 35 residences and 64 outbuildings destroyed.

Just hope that What is not your neighbor who attempts to put out his backyard fire with a garden hose because calling 911 is too expensive.


Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

In what year did the LARGEST fire in the area occur and how long did it burn? How many homes were lost and did it have the same topography as this particular property. I Google Earth(ed) it and it seemed accessible.
Mr.Carpenter's past as a wildland firefighter(Smokejumper USFS)is jawdropping considering P.C's.(g)many careers and physical agility that this voice of "certain people" is absolutely mindboggling.
It makes it clearer as to why he has all the answers.
Do you think that Oakland's economic non support had anything to do with the amount of damage and one fire truck?
Mr. Carpenter, how would you have approached the Oakland fire given your expertise and knowledge of that situation and how does it match our areas and enormous financial resources. I keep thinking that this is like living in Monte Carlo where we barely took our eyes off of our Chemin de Fer hands.Thank our COUNTY for the likes of you.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:37 am

Mr. Carpenter
Thank you for your rational comments on this topic and so many others over the years. I admire your restraint and logic in the face of a pretty steady onslaught of selfishness and ignorance on these pages.


Like this comment
Posted by What?!
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

Nope, still not convinced. And still the "experts" on this blog are not willing to listen or even consider alternatives. Let's keep sending 6 trucks to every fire, regardless of the conditions, regardless of the difference in terrain, the possible ability to communicate better, the possible opportunity to use better technology, or the possible use of other efficiencies. Let's just keep doing the same thing, over and over again. THAT is progress, welcome to Old Time Bloggers Unite!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

What - fire suppression experts from the USFS, CalFire and local agencies have had active research programs for decades to explore new and better ways to fight wildland and wildland/urban interface fires for years. Communications have drastically improved and aerial suppression has also improved but, just like in wars, these fires are fought and finally defeated with boots on the ground. Technology is great but it has made very little difference on the fire line where hand tools are still the weapon of choice.


As noted above, these six trucks were dispatched in accordance with a predetermined 'run sheet' that DID evaluate ground conditions, access and terrain. Please take the time to read what others have posted before you repeat your same denial statement for the fourth time.


Like this comment
Posted by Not to save the house Rich
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

What?! "Let's keep sending SIX trucks to EVERY fire, REGARDLESS of the conditions, regardless of the difference in terrain..."

No hyperbole there, eh?

Disagreeing with the pompous poster that bloviates here every day is one thing, lord knows I find it odd I'm agreeing with him, but "what?!" is so clearly wrong on this issue.


Like this comment
Posted by What?!
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Yes Peter I should "read what others have posted before I repeat my same denial..." The beauty of this statement is that I have read these so called "experts" and I disagree, it's as simple as that. You assume too much with statements that do not agree with yours, and then you, and a few others, go down the road of making it personal. Do what you wish, the next time I see the firetrucks pulled up to the Safeway to do their food shopping or at Starbucks to pick up their coffee, or playing volleyball behind the station, I will remember that they are extremely cost conscious and do everything they can to save the taxpayer dollars, by exploring new and different ways to again, apply technology or better modes of communication. Go ahead, that's your prompt to make it personal or once again show us that you are the foremost authority on every issue under the sun.


Like this comment
Posted by Not to save the house Rich
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Your original rant was on SIX trucks, now it's technology.

"...I will remember that they are extremely cost conscious and do everything they can to save the taxpayer dollars..."

Why on earth do you want to get economical when there's an ACTUAL call?!?!?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

What states:"I have read these so called "experts" and I disagree"

OK. Exactly why do you disagree, what is your specific alternative solution and what are your qualifications for offering an expert opinion on this matter?


Like this comment
Posted by What?!
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Don't worry Peter, you're still the expert, and mine is bigger than yours.... What nonsense. My entries have been about efficiencies and saving money thru possible changes with technology or communication. My only expertise is that I am a taxpayer over paying for a service I could receive much cheaper, than in good ol' broke California, the model of budget efficiencies. Good night, thanks for the inability to consider truly evaluating an overkill cost.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What states " My entries have been about efficiencies and saving money thru possible changes with technology or communication"

Please be specific about what efficiencies and changes in technology you advocate and what would be the savings and risks involved.


Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

P.C. speaks from the same heart as our Republican Candidates who, collectively, do not have half his qualifications as he has modestly thrown at us and we should be grateful for having a man who seems to play god in our area.
Is it possible there is a reason PC is on every page and entering at least several posts is not to inform, but could be attributed to something approaching a medical condition.....good or bad or just plain compulsive? I find him enjoyable just because he is probably a person who actually believes what he says. In this case, he may have had fond memories of fire trucks in his youth.When they used steam and a total volunteer firefighting brigade.
He is rather silly to pursue his own argument and to review the laws of the last century. Gratefully, I am beginning to see younger people heading political committees.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

Let's see. If we follow What?'s logic in the case of a fire in the hills, we send one truck. The truck arrives to find a fire requiring a larger response so a second or third alarm is put in. The additional trucks take 5 minutes? maybe more to arrive. Then they have to set up and hook up. In all that time the fire has been getting larger because of the initial inadequate response. Now we need a fourth alarm.

So, the choice is send one truck and possibly end up with a huge fire that is incredibly difficult and expensive to put out or send more than enough equipment to prevent that from happening. I don't know, I think I like the latter choice. Ultimatley, sending six trucks in that scenario instead of one is actually LESS expensive.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:06 am

R Gordon states: "Is it possible there is a reason PC is on every page and entering at least several posts is not to inform, but could be attributed to something approaching a medical condition"

boy, if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

Well said!


Like this comment
Posted by non starter
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

It's so wet up there from recent rains that no other neighbor fires would have started on their roofs, etc., most of which are fire retardant composition shingles, code for nearly 20 years in that area.
Suspect that CalFire Skylonda was first responder since they're 5 minutes from the incident, and Woodside Fire finally made it up the hill from downtown Woodside near Roberts in about 20 minutes.
It's budget time in the State Legislature, and contract negotiations with safety personnel unions is daily front page news locally.
So, not surprised with the manpower turnout for this "garage" fire.
Not about potential spread to the neighbors, but "spread" in contract negotiations.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:53 am

Fire fighting, unlike cowboy poetry, is one of those essential services by our government. It's the nature of the job for fire fighters to have a lot of down time and I think they make pretty good use of it doing other productive things (inspections, prevention, maintenance, etc.).

The cost of underestimating the requirement is far more than the cost of overestimating.


Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

So, how MUCH money did it cost to put out the fire?
Well pointed out, if I may say so myself.
Is there anyone here who is not a senior citizen who leaves their homes or do you all blog all day from home or your favorite coffee house?
I, at least, can do business and check the 'bottom line' of how very different minds think that aren't distorted by fear of their futures.
By the tone, I am able to read the income level of every one of you and why you react to each issue as if it is crisis to the community.
Well, it ain't. I think I win in my ability to judge hot air from my bedroom on my plane. Incidentally, is anyone aware of South Korea's interest now that we have had a lot of non documented visits from Asian investors who have bigger plans for HSR? People either are not aware or hide behind fire trucks.


Like this comment
Posted by Not to save the house Rich
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

"By the tone, I am able to read the income level of every one of you"

I'll bite (Pogo & MV are shouting "Noooooo....dooon't engage!!!!)

Within S50K (a broad range given national averages,) what's my income level?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Wo cares? There is not a single confirmed fact known about the poster claiming to be Rich Gordon.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I'll bite. (I know I shouldn't but, I will). Mr. Gordon: I'm betting you can't guess my income nor my age. Go ahead, give it a shot. Put your money where your bloviating mouth is. Frankly I'm not sure how you could possibly do this as based on your posts you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and have never had to actually work a day in your life, but go for it.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2011 at 7:03 am

Just as I thought. Mr. Gordon hasn't a clue.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 7:14 am

R. Gordon please note this community's standard: "Town Square will continue to be a THOUGHTFUL gathering place for sharing community information and opinion."


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

If you take the bait, be prepared to caught like a fish.




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