Arson suspected in Menlo Park car fire
The Menlo Park Fire Protection District responded to a vehicular fire underneath a two story, multi-unit apartment complex located at 785 Roble Avenue in Menlo Park at 1.39 pm Friday (9/14).
Firefighters arrived at 1.42 pm to find the passenger compartment on a late 1990's four-door Honda Accord completely on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished by 1.49 pm; residents were evacuated from the complex as a precaution. The fire was contained to the car port area in part due to the quick actions of the fire crew but also because of the rated one-hour sheet rock separation between the carport and living areas.
"The sheet rock will need to be replaced but it did it's job" said Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. Residents were able to return to their homes and no injuries were reported.
Fire Investigator Ron Keefer determined that the fire was arson. An accelerant was intentionally thrown into the passenger compartment starting the fire, and the incident will be treated as part of a broader crime scene by Menlo Park Police.
"We understand that the vehicle was stolen and may have been used in a local crime" Chief Schapelhouman stated. "All additional inquiries should be directed to the Menlo Park Police Department.
"This could have been a very significant and disastrous situation. We will work closely with and in support of the Menlo Park Police Department so that they can identify, capture and prosecute this individual or individuals for arson and other related crimes to the full extent of the law".
The Menlo Park Police Department's phone number is (650) 858-3319.