Two-alarm fire contained in Old Palo Alto

No injuries reported, cause not yet known

March 28 update: Fire investigators have determined the blaze started on the stovetop in the home's kitchen where flames first spread to the cabinets, but the cause remains under investigation, according to Palo Alto Fire Department Deputy Chief Catherine Capriles.

The blaze resulted in an estimated $1 million in damage to the home, which displaced the residents who found their own living accommodations after the fire and didn't need help from the American Red Cross, she said.


Palo Alto firefighters contained a two-alarm fire that started in the kitchen and extended into the attic of an Old Palo Alto home on Sunday.

The fire department reported "smoke and fire from the attic area upon arrival" at the 355 Seale Ave. home around 11:30 a.m. on its Twitter page. Crews were working to "ventilate and extinguish" the fire, the department tweeted. (Watch a video of firefighters arriving on scene.)

The fire was contained shortly after noon, Palo Alto Fire Department Deputy Chief Catherine Capriles said.

There was no one home at the time the fire started and no injuries were reported, according to Capriles. The house was locked so firefighters had to force their way in, Bay City News Service reported.

After they contained the fire, crews were working to salvage the resident's property and conduct a fire investigation, the fire department tweeted.

The cause of the fire is not yet known; an investigator was on scene on Sunday, Capriles said.

Crews continued search efforts on Sunday afternoon to make sure the fire didn't spread elsewhere in the home, which is old with laths and plaster, as well as a basement, Capriles said. The house also has a tile roof, which the fire department said is "very difficult to ventilate. The "extra weight on the roof add to the concern/complexity of the fire," the department tweeted.

The Mountain View Fire Department, Santa Clara County Fire Department as well as Palo Alto police and Utilities provided backup on Sunday morning, the fire department said.

Fire Associates, a volunteer group that provides "canteen and rehab support during major emergency incidents" also responded shortly after noon for "much-needed firefighter rehab and logistics support," the fire department said.

For more videos of Sunday's fire, go to the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online YouTube channel.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.


37 people like this
Posted by With gratitude to police & fire depts.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Many thanks to Palo Alto Police & Fire Departments. We are fortunate to have such excellent responders.

5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 19, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Learning something new every day. I'd never heard of "Fire Associates" -- Web Link

63 people like this
Posted by Joanie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm

We are the couple who were living in the house and I want to thank the Palo Alto and Mountain View Fire Departments - there may have been others there as well, so I am including them in this thank you. The firemen were the nicest, most professional young men and women - so kind and capable. They did a great job and offered words of comfort. We are so lucky that we were not home (and therefore safe) and so lucky that none of the firemen or fire women were injured. We are very lucky to have such brave men and women in our fire department. Thank you to all.

Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley

on Mar 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm

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10 people like this
Posted by Glad you r ok
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Joanie, So glad you and family are safe. We are your neighbors and saw you from across and over a bit
as you seemed to be leaving. Let us know if we can help. So sorry for your loss.

3 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2017 at 8:50 pm

I am the owner of the house that caught fire. I whole-heartedly second Joanie's comments about the bravery, kind-heartedness, and professionalism of the firefighters from Palo Alto and Mountain View (and perhaps others) who responded to the fire and have since worked on the scene. Every fire fighter, police officer, investigator, etc. that I have met has been a real pleasure. My special thanks to the fire fighters who made the heroic effort to enter the house under unbelievably dangerous conditions of intense heat, smoke, and fire, made sure that there was nobody in the house, and then put out the fire. You did a fantastic job and I am deeply thankful to you all for keeping us safe.

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