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Archive for March, 2009

fire!

There was some drama in downtown Menlo Park yesterday morning. It was probably the most action the downtown’s seen in decades:

police line

At 8am I got a call from the Almanac that there was a four-alarm fire in the Peet’s Coffee building on Santa Cruz and University. Cops were diverting traffic and most of the area was cordoned off, but I cut through Fremont Park and hung out in the Drager’s parking lot, shooting away.

ladder

trucks

11 fire engines and nearly 50 firefighters from all over southern San Mateo county responded to the alarm. The fire was out by the time I arrived, and the rescue crews were resting after the blaze. No one was hurt except for a firefighter who separated his shoulder.

laugh
Firefighter Wilbur Womble (great name) has a laugh after the fire is extinguished

resting

salvage
Salvaging stuff from the Calla Boutique

gummies
The gummy bears made it through unscathed

clean

rinse
Rinsing off equipment & firefighters

tools
Some of the tools used to tear down walls and find the source of the fire

chief

Menlo Park Fire District Chief Harold Schapelhouman was very cooperative with the press and gave me a tour of the building.

tour

According to Schapelhouman, the fire started early in the morning in a second-story electrical closet and slowly spread through the walls and floors. They had trouble pinpointing the source of the fire because of the smoke and had to tear apart rooms and offices to find it.

damage

office

diplomas

It was pretty enlightening to learn how a particular fire starts and spreads, and how firefighters respond to a particular type of fire. In this case it was a smaller fire, but stubborn because of the way it crept through the walls and floor undetected.

More photos from the fire here.

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cacti

It’s like another world up close:

black hole

sharp

b&w

dew

succulent

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