PRESS RELEASE – April 1, 2021 Explosion and structure fire wasn’t a joke!


Menlo Park Fire Protection District 

House fire may be related to earlier power outage



Pictured above – Firefighter Norman Bolanos sprays the side of a burn damaged, two story, shingle sided home with a penetrating extinguishment foaming agent,

while Fire Investigators Marlon Spencer and Dave Perrone inspect the overall damage to the structure - Credit Menlo Fire


Menlo Park Fire District Firefighters responded to a reported “house on fire’ in an area known as Stanford Weekend Acres located along Alpine Road when a single caller reported that the “rear of the house” was on fire at 1:47 pm, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Fire Captain Jane Hunt and her crew on Menlo Engine 4 arrived on-scene at 1:52 pm and reported that “they had a working fire involving the rear of a two story, multi-level, shingle sided structure with fire involving the entire side of the building and pushing into the roof eves….Engine 4 would be attacking the fire”.


After quickly knocking down the exterior fire, crews entered the home surprised to find it almost un-damaged. Upon further investigation and while noticing smoke coming from the second floor, they quickly realized that the fire had extended into several attic crawl spaces. Additional hose lines were deployed inside as ceilings were pulled down by additional fire crews who were arriving on-scene and as members of Menlo Truck 1 cut holes from on top of the roof in-order to allow the smoke and heat to escape from the attic space, even as crews below worked to extinguish the hidden fires.


A total of 2 Battalion Chiefs, 5 Fire Engines and 1 Ladder Truck, or 21 personnel, from the Menlo Park Fire District, Woodside Fire Protection District and Redwood City Fire Department, brought the incident under control by 2:20 pm, when the fire was reported as “completely knocked down”.


Four Menlo Park Fire District Investigators converged on the scene. Fire Marshal Johnston and his team determined that the fire started on the outside of the structure in and around a swimming pool and hot tubs mechanical and electrical equipment. The structural dollar loss is estimated at $125,000 with damage to contents at $32,000. The 2,510 square foot home sustained significant damage.


Fire Chief Schapelhouman said “we’re very familiar with this very unique and rustic small residential community that is located next to San Francisquito Creek and just below Alpine Road. We were very fortunate that the fire was quickly called in by the resident, the first engine was here in under five minutes and that they made an immediate and aggressive fire attack. There was no wind, our Drone overflight was extremely helpful and luckily, we haven’t exactly started fire season yet. We are also following up on reports of an earlier local PG&E power outage and restoration, that may coincide with the reported time of this incident”.


A separate press release on the incredible benefits of the Fire District’s UAS/Drone Program, that was instrumental in helping fire commanders determine exactly where the fire was, its progression and eventual extinguishment, will be released over the weekend – Stay tuned because it’s truly amazing!


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