News


Apartment building gutted by fire had no sprinklers

Four people were injured

The absence of sprinklers in a Redwood City apartment building was a factor in the rapid spread of an early-morning fire Thursday that grew to six alarms and sent four residents to hospitals, fire officials said.

The fire was reported shortly after 5:15 a.m. at the Terrace Apartments, a four-story, 75-unit apartment building at 926 Woodside Road.

The fire was controlled shortly before 9 a.m. but crews remained putting out hotspots later today, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

Two residents were hospitalized with moderate injuries, while two others were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said. All four, who are adults, had been released by Thursday afternoon, he said.

The rescue effort was hectic but ultimately successful, he said, with some people escaping the building on their own and others helped out by fire crews. Some residents climbed over balconies to get out.

The most significant damage was to the fourth floor, where the fire appears to have started.

The fire marshal said the building is not habitable and there is no estimate for when residents may return, if at all.

The fire caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage to the building and roughly $500,000 in damage to its contents, he said.

What caused the fire remains under investigation, but he said the fire's rapid spread would have been lessened if the building had been equipped with sprinklers.

"If you have sprinklers, naturally, it's going to be diminished," he said.

The building predates a 1989 law requiring sprinklers in new residential buildings. "It's not a retroactive law," he added.

The American Red Cross is running an evacuation center at the Red Morton Community Center at 1120 Roosevelt Ave. to assist those displaced, spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw said.

She encouraged residents with pets to stop by the center to be connected with partner agencies that are helping pet owners.

The building is managed by Terrace Associates Inc., which has properties throughout the Peninsula and South Bay region.

The fire came several months after a fatal six-alarm fire burned an apartment building just down the road. That fire started at about 1:45 a.m. on July 7 at the Hallmark House Apartments, a 72-unit building at 531 Woodside Road, about half a mile from the Terrace Apartments. A 48-year-old man was killed in that fire and about 17 others were injured.

Apartment building gutted by fire had no sprinklers

The absence of sprinklers in a Redwood City apartment building was a factor in the rapid spread of an early-morning fire Thursday that grew to six alarms and sent four residents to hospitals, fire officials said.

The fire was reported shortly after 5:15 a.m. at the Terrace Apartments, a four-story, 75-unit apartment building at 926 Woodside Road.

The fire was controlled shortly before 9 a.m. but crews remained putting out hotspots later today, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

Two residents were hospitalized with moderate injuries, while two others were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said. All four, who are adults, had been released by Thursday afternoon, he said.

The rescue effort was hectic but ultimately successful, he said, with some people escaping the building on their own and others helped out by fire crews. Some residents climbed over balconies to get out.

The most significant damage was to the fourth floor, where the fire appears to have started.

The fire marshal said the building is not habitable and there is no estimate for when residents may return, if at all.

The fire caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage to the building and roughly $500,000 in damage to its contents, he said.

What caused the fire remains under investigation, but he said the fire's rapid spread would have been lessened if the building had been equipped with sprinklers.

"If you have sprinklers, naturally, it's going to be diminished," he said.

The building predates a 1989 law requiring sprinklers in new residential buildings. "It's not a retroactive law," he added.

The American Red Cross is running an evacuation center at the Red Morton Community Center at 1120 Roosevelt Ave. to assist those displaced, spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw said.

She encouraged residents with pets to stop by the center to be connected with partner agencies that are helping pet owners.

The building is managed by Terrace Associates Inc., which has properties throughout the Peninsula and South Bay region.

The fire came several months after a fatal six-alarm fire burned an apartment building just down the road. That fire started at about 1:45 a.m. on July 7 at the Hallmark House Apartments, a 72-unit building at 531 Woodside Road, about half a mile from the Terrace Apartments. A 48-year-old man was killed in that fire and about 17 others were injured.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

Wow ... second big apartment fire in that area this year. There was another big fire a couple blocks from there a few months ago. I hope the damage and injury is minimized.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fire fighting
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Wow. Just blocks away. Anyone know the cause of the big one a couple months ago?

Had to be something strange. No way a whole concrete 'frame' building goes up like that!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Melanie
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Supposedly the fire a few months ago was started by a guy who was fixing dinner in his apartment. He had been drinking and passed out while the stove was on. That caused the fire and that resident unfortunately died in his apartment. The old building with no sprinklers caused back drafts to happen when the residents opened doors because of the smoke detectors. It is very odd that there were 2 major fires within blocks of each other this close.

I made sure to thank the firefighters today as I passed them on Woodside Road. They are rarely thanked and often criticized because they didn't respond fast enough or take the right course of action. Just like 3 months ago, stations from the peninsula came to Redwood City to help out. Thank them for all they do!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This fire WAS preventable:
"I guarantee if this building had been sprinklered this wouldn't have happened," Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

The best fire protection is prevention not suppression.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gina
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Oct 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm

The other major apartment building fire couple months ago on woodside road I heard was reported as a kitchen fire. Cause of this fire at the Terrace Apartment if they rule out arson, my money would be someone smoking in bed. sad thing in both cases no sprinklers were required at the times these apartment building were built. If the Terrace Apartment owner chooses to rebuild they will be required to have sprinklers now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

I'm glad my friend are safe who lived in the top floor directly across from where this fire started. They had to climb down the balcony to escape for their lives. Thankfully they are safe but lost everything they own. I was there a few months ago when the fire happened up the road. That fire burned what seemed like forever. It seems like deja vu in the worst way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kaz
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

No mention of efforts to help all the people misplaced by this fire??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Colleen Anderson
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

Benefit tonight to help the Woodside Road fire victims. 40.00 per person It's called The Haunting at the Union Cemetery on Woodside Road
My husband Grant works at Terrace Associates Realty. I am hoping we will be able to attend this event. Please tell everyone you know. The fire victims need our help and support

Here is the link. Grant and I are planning on going.
Web Link


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