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Menlo Park: Fireworks suspected cause of detached garage fire on Fourth of July

Fireworks are the suspected cause of a fire in a detached garage that served as a residence in the 1300 block of Sevier Drive in Menlo Park on the Fourth of July. Courtesy Menlo Fire.

Menlo Park Fire Protection District firefighters suspect that fireworks are to blame for a blaze in a detached garage backyard living space in Menlo Park on the Fourth of July.

The fire was reported at a detached garage behind a home in the 1300 block of Sevier Drive at 7:50 p.m, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The blaze was brought under control by 8:03 p.m.

Fire Marshal Jon Johnston noted that used and unused fireworks were all around the structure. Although the occupants asserted that fireworks were not a factor, no other cause could be found, and the origin of the fire appeared to be a small burn hole through the roof, according to the district.

The garage had been converted into a living space without permits, and one family member was displaced. The estimated structural loss was $30,000, with an additional $10,000 for contents.

Earlier in the week, Menlo firefighters treated a 20-year-old man in North Fair Oaks who suffered lacerations and burns to his face and hand after a glass bottle with illegal fireworks inside of it blew up in front of a building July 2, according to a press release from the district.

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An uptick in the use of fireworks was reported throughout the Midpeninsula over the last couple of months. City council members and chiefs of police and fire departments from Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto met to discuss the issue on June 29.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in Wednesday's press release that local fireworks activity this year was "the worst I've ever seen it" in his 40 years with the district.

"Clearly a lot of people seemed to just not care," he said. "That said, I am grateful that the number of actual fire and medical incidents was amazingly small compared to the number of illegal fireworks being used, especially the ground mortars being used for aerial shows all over the city of East Palo Alto and in some areas of Menlo Park, like Belle Haven and unincorporated county areas like North Fair Oaks."

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Menlo Park: Fireworks suspected cause of detached garage fire on Fourth of July

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 3:29 pm

Menlo Park Fire Protection District firefighters suspect that fireworks are to blame for a blaze in a detached garage backyard living space in Menlo Park on the Fourth of July.

The fire was reported at a detached garage behind a home in the 1300 block of Sevier Drive at 7:50 p.m, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The blaze was brought under control by 8:03 p.m.

Fire Marshal Jon Johnston noted that used and unused fireworks were all around the structure. Although the occupants asserted that fireworks were not a factor, no other cause could be found, and the origin of the fire appeared to be a small burn hole through the roof, according to the district.

The garage had been converted into a living space without permits, and one family member was displaced. The estimated structural loss was $30,000, with an additional $10,000 for contents.

Earlier in the week, Menlo firefighters treated a 20-year-old man in North Fair Oaks who suffered lacerations and burns to his face and hand after a glass bottle with illegal fireworks inside of it blew up in front of a building July 2, according to a press release from the district.

An uptick in the use of fireworks was reported throughout the Midpeninsula over the last couple of months. City council members and chiefs of police and fire departments from Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto met to discuss the issue on June 29.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in Wednesday's press release that local fireworks activity this year was "the worst I've ever seen it" in his 40 years with the district.

"Clearly a lot of people seemed to just not care," he said. "That said, I am grateful that the number of actual fire and medical incidents was amazingly small compared to the number of illegal fireworks being used, especially the ground mortars being used for aerial shows all over the city of East Palo Alto and in some areas of Menlo Park, like Belle Haven and unincorporated county areas like North Fair Oaks."

Comments

whatever
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 9, 2020 at 1:42 am
whatever, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 9, 2020 at 1:42 am
6 people like this

Is anyone ever charged or arrested for illegal use of fireworks? Or is it another one of those no one cares crimes.
Too bad the landlords can't be held responsible. Then they might have an incentive to evict scofflaws.


Twentse
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 9, 2020 at 3:40 pm
Twentse, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 9, 2020 at 3:40 pm
2 people like this

Where do people get these fireworks? Are they for sale somewhere? Do they make them themselves?


MaryAnnMP
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:22 pm
MaryAnnMP, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:22 pm
2 people like this

WHERE WAS THE PUBLIC SAFETY PRESENCE ON AND BEFORE JULY 4TH? These days were (with no exaggeration) like wartime for hours upon hours that night and for many nights before. I drove around the area at the height of it after dark on July 4th and saw ONE sheriff's vehicle. They should have been swarming the areas above such as NFO, Belle Haven and vicinity. We pay your salaries and we deserve better protection from mischief. I have little to no sympathy for those injured by performing illegal acts. There were also days of uptick prior to the 4th where actions could have been taken. Lastly, did ANYONE get a summons for the maximum 50k penalty that the county texted residents was in place in RWC for these illegal fireworks? Shaking my head. Animals and people terrorized for over a week. Thank you so much. (not).


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:26 pm
2 people like this

"Fire Marshal Jon Johnston noted that used and unused fireworks were all around the structure. Although the occupants asserted that fireworks were not a factor, no other cause could be found, and the origin of the fire appeared to be a small burn hole through the roof, according to the district"

I wonder who the insurance company will side with, the fire department that found firework and a burn hole in the roof or the family that claims the fireworks were not responsible. Some how I think the insurance will not be agreeing with the family. I also hope the fire department confiscated the unused fireworks before they set anyone else's house on fire. Too bad they could not be sited and fined for illegal fireworks use...

You can get illegal fireworks a lot of places. It used to be a quick trip to China Town would get you anything you wanted, not sure if that is still the case. There are online places you can buy them. The one I looked at said they would not ship to California but I could easily have it shipped to a friend and forwarded to me here if I wanted (which I don't).


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