Smoke from fire drives neighbors out of home
Neighbors living next door to 52 Willow Road, the house that caught fire on March 6, were forced out of their own home thanks to smoke damage, according to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.
Chief Harold Schapelhouman said that while firefighters focused on protecting the neighbor's home, which has a "highly flammable" wood-shingled roof, "some of the windows were apparently open, which filled the home with smoke from the fire next door. That homeowner felt they needed to have their home cleaned prior to living in it again as I understand it."
Investigators are still puzzling out what caused the fire. According to the chief, they are focusing on the exterior composting area. Another factor may be a recent trimming of trees that allowed more sunlight into that area of the yard. They are also testing items such as air conditioning units.
"We will continue to work closely with the private insurance investigators," Chief Schapelhouman said.
The morning of the fire, neighbors reported hearing a "boom" shortly before 11 a.m. and seeing flames leap from a front corner of the home. Firefighters arrived on the scene about two minutes after the 911 call.
No one was injured, but the family of four who live at 52 Willow Road, along with two visiting grandparents, had the difficult task of finding long-term shelter for up to a year as a result of the damage.