East Palo Alto house fire starts in cluttered garage


A fire that damaged an East Palo Alto home on Monday evening started in a densely cluttered garage, causing an estimated $80,000 in structural damage and $40,000 in losses to the home's belongings, Menlo Park Fire Protection District officials said.

Dispatchers received a call at 6:08 p.m. of a blaze in a single-story home on the 2200 block of Pulgas Avenue. Five engines, two battalion chiefs, and other heavy equipment arrived to find flames coming from the attached garage, Battalion Chief Jim Stevens said.

Firefighters entered the home through the front door and kept the fire from spreading to the dwelling, he said. The home sustained mostly smoke damage, he said.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said on Tuesday that a man who sustained smoke inhalation was treated by paramedics at the scene. The fire was caused by a improperly vented dryer, he said.

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9 people like this
Posted by neighbor that made the call
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 12:21 am

Im the one that called, I'm their neighbor. I was in the living room with my mom and younger sister doing each others hair and watching our favorite show on TV at 6:00pm when it all happened, I heard yelling and I thought it was people having a fight outside so I paid it no attention. Until my mom looked and saw our neighbors house on fire, she started yelling,"Let's go Let's go!" And I assumed that there was gonna be gun shots because my mother started running towards our bedroom, then she said,"no no Go outside!" I did as she said and I saw a lot of black smoke rising from our neighbors house. I was quite scared but i knew what i had to do so I got my younger sister and I asked my mom to give me her phone. It took my mom a few seconds to calm down and see that her phone was right in front of her and on our way out the door I dialed 911, very shaky and nervous but I managed and told them that our neighbors house was on fire and I told them my name and my neighbors address.

7 people like this
Posted by Happy
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 9:06 am

neighbor that made the call:

Good job! You helped save your neighbor's life and his home, and probably other homes by getting the fire department out early. Young people like you are our hopeful future.

Sorry you feared it was going to be gunshots, though. I hope for a time when our community will feel that yelling on the street and gunfire are rare and unusual.

5 people like this
Posted by Norma Hymes
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Neighbor that made the call

Thank you for making the "911 call" this was my father-in-law home of 40+ years. I believe you probably saved his life by your quick response. There are great people in East Palo Alto and your one of them.

Thank you,
Norma Hymes-Jernigan
East Palo Alto

35 people like this
Posted by Da'Shante
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm

this what they talkin aboutt when they say the media por tray us badly on purpose. why aint there articals on all the palo Alto fires???

talkin bout 'garage to clutterd'... that SOME BS n u know it! SMH #blacklivesmatter

5 people like this
Posted by #AllLivesMatterNOTJustBlackOnes
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm

What does a cluttered garage have to do with #blacklivesmatter Da'Shante? If you don't want to be mocked of for being a hoarder, do something about it and ORGANIZE! The odds are against people who hoard all kinds of dangerous chemicals and flammable stuff in terms of house fires. All lives matter! Why not instead of playing the victims, people stand up and do something about the situation at hand? You'd be surprised how much safer it is for your home to be properly set up with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

33 people like this
Posted by Da'Shante
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm


u think im unorganized bcuz of my ethncicity.... u say i aint got no carbon monoxide alarms? U GOT ME TWISTED! SMH forreal

dnt u EVER disrespect #blacklivesmatter! see how many likes i got? thats support rght there. we roll deep cuz

2 people like this
Posted by Sue Dremann
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Hi Da'Shante.

Please don't think we are singling out East Palo Alto. We always do write about Palo Alto fires too. Firefighters say this fire could have been much worse. The fact is the garage was stuffed with flammable materials. It serves as a lesson to us all, and it was mentioned in the article to hopefully inform readers and remind them of the importance of not having combustible clutter.

Please look at the photo and consider what could have happened if all that material caught fire. I promise you that if this was a packed garage in Palo Alto or any other location, I would have written about it too.

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

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