Portola Valley: Fire leaves house under construction uninhabitable


A fire significantly damaged a two-story house under construction at 10 La Sandra Way in the Westridge neighborhood in Portola Valley early this morning (Wednesday, April 27).

The house was about a month away from being ready for occupancy, and is now uninhabitable, Battalion Chief Rob Lindner of the Woodside Fire Protection District told the Almanac. The house was unoccupied at the time of the fire and there were no injuries, Mr. Lindner said.

About a third of the house burned, but there is smoke damage throughout the structure, Mr. Lindner said. The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are not yet available.

A neighbor reported seeing flames on the outside of the house at around 5:15 a.m. When firefighters arrived about seven minutes later, they found one side of the house burning.

The first floor of the house sits atop an above-ground garage. The fire burned through the first floor and now the underside of the second floor is visible from inside the garage, Mr. Lindner said. The second floor was not damaged, he said.

Firefighters fought the fire from inside and out, and employed fans on a ladder truck to clear the scene of smoke. They had it knocked down in about 30 minutes and extinguished about 15 minutes after that, he said.

The fire never threatened to ignite vegetation, Mr. Lindner said. "Luckily, there was no wind to speak of this morning, whereas a couple of days ago, it would have been a whole different scene," he said.

Crews from the Woodside and Menlo Park fire protection districts, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were on the scene. The one-alarm fire brought to the fire a total of five fire engines, one ladder truck, two battalion chiefs (to manage the operation) and an ambulance, Mr. Lindner said.

"The crews did a good job," Mr. Lindner said. "(They) were aggressive to get it knocked down quickly keep it as that first alarm (level)."

Dave Boyce


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