Update: “Our investigators have determined that the cause of the fire was fireplace ashes that were removed from the home two days ago and placed in a cardboard box that was left on a table on a back patio table next to the home,” said Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. “We believe that this was an accidental fire caused by an unintended human error. The fire caused an estimated $50k in structural damage and $5k in property damage.
“It also isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of incident, fire place ash should be removed periodically, placed in a metal can and soaked in water. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen, but the good news is the fire was discovered early, damage is minimal and no one in the home was injured.”
Menlo Park Fire responded to a middle of the night fire in the rear of a large, two-story residential structure on Selby Lane in Atherton and quickly determined that all residents were out of the building.
A garage and deck were on fire; it was knocked down by fire personnel within 10 minutes of arrival. The fire had also charred the exterior of the hone up to the second story, so an extensive check for fire penetration into the home’s attic and walls was done.
Battalion Chief Ben Marra stated: “We responded with five engines, one ladder truck and two Battalion Chiefs for a total of 21 personnel and the call was held at one alarm… we are thankful that no one in the home was injured.”