Menlo Park: Ventilation motor suspected cause of roof fire


A faulty ventilation motor on the roof of a TE Connectivity manufacturing facility at 305 Constitution Drive in Menlo Park may have been the cause of a fire that drew firefighters from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District to the scene on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 11:31 p.m, according to district Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

Investigators are still working to confirm the cause of the fire, he said Friday morning.

Schapelhouman said he did not yet have information on whether anyone was injured in the incident.

TE Connectivity Ltd., formerly Tyco Electronics, uses the building to manufacture heat-shrink tubing, Schapelhouman said. The fire affected an area of about 400 square feet on the roof and led to the evacuation of 30 to 60 employees working the night shift at the plant, he said.

Five fire engines, a ladder truck, two battalion chiefs and a rescue vehicle responded to the one-alarm fire, Schapelhouman said.

Firefighters brought the fire under control in about 15 minutes, and released the building to the company maintenance team at about 1:20 a.m., Schapelhouman said.

The fire did not get into the building, he added. The roof was covered with a layer of insulating foam that burned, and firefighters had to dig through it to root out embers and ensure that the fire was out, he said. Also burning were ventilation ducts and the ventilation motor.

Firefighters on the roof, about 25 feet above the ground, coordinated with their counterparts inside the building to protect manufacturing equipment from damage by water dripping down from overhead, Schapelhouman said.

"That was the right thing to do," Schapelhouman said. The firefighters "thoughtfully considered everything down below before starting to put out the fire with water."

An San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services (SMC) alert was sent out about the fire shortly after midnight that advised anyone in the area to shelter in place.


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