For Immediate Release
January 17, 2014
Public Communication and Engagement Manager
6-Alarm Fire Burns Three Commercial and One Apartment Building
This Morning in Unincorporated San Mateo County North Fair Oaks Neighborhood
Fire Fighters from throughout San Mateo County Get Blaze in Unincorporated Redwood City
"Under Control" by Early Morning
Redwood City, Calif. - At approximately 6am this morning, a fire was reported at FMW Machine Shop, located at 894 Douglas in Unincorporated San Mateo County. The fire was increased to a "6-alarm" fire within 45 minutes as it spread to three neighboring structures - an adjacent apartment building, and two additional commercial buildings. Firefighters from across San Mateo County brought the blaze under control by 10:30am, but firefighters are expected to be on-scene throughout the night checking for "hot spots" in walls and fully extinguishing the fire. The machine shop where officials believe the blaze started is fully burned and the other three buildings were significantly impacted. Officials will not be able to comment on cause until the full investigation is complete.
One firefighter injured his hand. There are no known fatalities at this time. The San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services issued an "air advisory" indicating that if residents smelled smoke, they should take general precautions and close windows and doors. The perimeter of the site is closed to through traffic, although crews are trying to open busy Bay Road as soon as conditions are safe.
Sixteen residents, including children, were displaced by the fire, and are currently receiving services at the Fair Oaks Community Center. The American Red Cross anticipates providing hotel shelter for the families this evening, and will then determine what the residents' housing needs are for the long holiday weekend ahead.
"For Redwood City to endure four fires since the summer of 2013, and now a fifth in unincorporated San Mateo County is hard to come to terms with," states Bob Bell, City Manager, of Redwood City. "We know the area, especially in this dry weather, is seeing a lot of fires, but our community definitely feels overburdened."
San Mateo County is a "boundary drop" county, meaning that when a fire occurs, fire departments from across the County are called to assist. Redwood City firefighters were the first to arrive on scene as Redwood City has the closest fire station to the FMW Machine Shop.
"We are receiving questions about links between fires and suspicious activity," states Fire Chief Jim Skinner. "At this point in the fire response, there is no reason to believe the fires from the past several months are linked in any way."
Based on California State Law, buildings built before 1980 are not required to have sprinklers. The building in today's blaze did not have fire sprinklers and was not required to install them.
For more information for urgent media deadlines, call Sheri Costa-Batis at 650.273.3099.