News

Buildings, RV destroyed in two-alarm North Fair Oaks fire

Six people displaced by fire in structures allegedly built without permits

A total of 41 firefighters responded to a fire on 7th Avenue in unincorporated North Fair Oaks on Tuesday morning (March 19), which went to two alarms after officials feared it might spread to other structures in the neighborhood.

No injuries were reported, but the fire so badly damaged what Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a written statement were structures built without permits that investigators could not determine the cause of the fire, or even where it started.

Schapelhouman estimated the fire caused $130,000 in damage.

Firefighters arrived on the scene only four minutes after receiving the call shortly before 11:30 a.m., the chief said, and found three buildings and a recreational vehicle on fire. The main structure was not involved.

Because the fire was so far advanced, firefighters decided to fight it only from outside the structures after they determined that no one was inside the buildings, Schapelhouman said.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"Our firefighters are always under greater risk and danger due to the potential for structural collapse, flashover and burn injuries when we have such a severely burned out and weakened structure that is fully involved and free burning on our arrival," Schapelhouman said.

The second alarm called in backup firefighters, who were staged a block from the fire in case it spread, but the fire was brought under control 20 minutes after the first firefighters arrived.

Schapelhouman said five engines and a ladder truck responded to the first alarm with 21 firefighters. Four more engines, a rescue vehicle, another ladder truck and 20 more firefighters responded to the second alarm.

American Red Cross volunteers were at the scene to help the six people displaced by the fire.

Schapelhouman said structures built without permits and not up to fire and safety codes "are always a potential underlying concern" in North Fair Oaks.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"We understand and are sympathetic to the housing challenges and shortage, but potential illegal, non-permitted and compliant buildings can, and have, injured and killed residents and firefighters," Schapehouman said.

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Buildings, RV destroyed in two-alarm North Fair Oaks fire

Six people displaced by fire in structures allegedly built without permits

by Barbara Wood / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 10:52 am

A total of 41 firefighters responded to a fire on 7th Avenue in unincorporated North Fair Oaks on Tuesday morning (March 19), which went to two alarms after officials feared it might spread to other structures in the neighborhood.

No injuries were reported, but the fire so badly damaged what Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a written statement were structures built without permits that investigators could not determine the cause of the fire, or even where it started.

Schapelhouman estimated the fire caused $130,000 in damage.

Firefighters arrived on the scene only four minutes after receiving the call shortly before 11:30 a.m., the chief said, and found three buildings and a recreational vehicle on fire. The main structure was not involved.

Because the fire was so far advanced, firefighters decided to fight it only from outside the structures after they determined that no one was inside the buildings, Schapelhouman said.

"Our firefighters are always under greater risk and danger due to the potential for structural collapse, flashover and burn injuries when we have such a severely burned out and weakened structure that is fully involved and free burning on our arrival," Schapelhouman said.

The second alarm called in backup firefighters, who were staged a block from the fire in case it spread, but the fire was brought under control 20 minutes after the first firefighters arrived.

Schapelhouman said five engines and a ladder truck responded to the first alarm with 21 firefighters. Four more engines, a rescue vehicle, another ladder truck and 20 more firefighters responded to the second alarm.

American Red Cross volunteers were at the scene to help the six people displaced by the fire.

Schapelhouman said structures built without permits and not up to fire and safety codes "are always a potential underlying concern" in North Fair Oaks.

"We understand and are sympathetic to the housing challenges and shortage, but potential illegal, non-permitted and compliant buildings can, and have, injured and killed residents and firefighters," Schapehouman said.

Comments

john kirschner
another community
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:39 pm
john kirschner, another community
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:39 pm

I read the story about the fire in unincorporated North Fair Oaks with rapt attention. One could understandably question my interest as a resident of Fleming Island, Florida some 3000 miles to the southeast. My father, Leonard O. Kirschner, Sr. was a supporting founder and also a Chief for a couple of years of the Meadowood County Fire Department in the 1960s and 1970s in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. He always had stories of interest which kept our attention for hours and instilled in his family the nature of fire fighting and the dangers encountered. He dad a strict discipline with regard to building codes and the necessity of proper construction to aid fire fighters if there should ever be a conflagration involving any structure. My dad left a lasting impression with me for which I will be forever grateful. Whenever I note a story such as yours it brings to mind the injured and lost souls due to the negligence of a few property owners. Your story brought my dad back to life for as long as it took for me to read your words. Thank you.


where
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm
where, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Where was this? My friend lives on 8th Ave and said she didn't see or hear anything.


BarbaraWood
Registered user
Woodside: other
on Mar 21, 2019 at 5:21 pm
BarbaraWood, Woodside: other
Registered user
on Mar 21, 2019 at 5:21 pm

It was in the 500 block of 7th Avenue in North Fair Oaks.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.