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Monday, July 8, 2013

Redwood City Fire crews continue to battle a six-alarm fire

21 Injured in Woodside Road Fire, Eastbound Road Still Closed
"When we first got here it was rescue after rescue after rescue."
Update: The Redwood City Police Department announced Monday morning that eastbound Woodside Road between Hudson and Hess remains closed due to fire suppression activities at 531 Woodside Road. 

It is unknown at this time when eastbound Woodside will be reopened.
The number of reported injuries from a six-alarm apartment building fire in Redwood City has risen to 21 people including three firefighters, a city official said Sunday afternoon. 

The fire, reported shortly before 2 a.m. at the 72-unit Hallmark House Apartments at 531 Woodside Road, displaced around 97 people and injured 21, Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith said. However the injuries were all mild to moderate in severity, Smith said. The fire is under control, but firefighters and equipment remain on site. Smith said firefighters are expected to stay overnight, and an investigation into the fire's cause will not begin until Monday morning.

Woodside Road was closed in both directions from Bonita Avenue to Hess Avenue due to the fire, and is currently expected to reopen around midnight tonight, Smith said. The Red Cross has opened an overnight shelter expected to serve more than 40 people at the National Guard Armory at 939 Valota Road in Redwood City. Volunteers and staff there will provide shelter, prescription medicine replacement and emotional support. Those affected by the fire and in need of help should go to the armory or call 1 (888) 4-HELP-BAY. 

Fire crews arriving on the scene this morning found heavy flames and smoke coming from the building and many residents standing on balconies waiting to be rescued, Redwood City Fire Marshal James Palisi said earlier today. Firefighters climbed ladders and entered burning homes to rescue the trapped residents and helped 16 people who were suffering from "minor to moderate injuries" get to local hospitals, Palisi said. More than 100 firefighters with 20 engines and seven ladder trucks responded to the disaster, Smith said.

Updated @ 2:17 p.m.
Redwood City firefighters continue to battle a blaze that may be the longest burning fire since the San Bruno tragedy of 2010, according to a Redwood City Fire Marshal.

"There are a lot of combustibles in the roof," explained Redwood City Fire Marshal James Palisi. "This is creating pockets of fire which are very difficult to extinguish," Palisi told Patch as he departed from the scene. Smoke still billowed from the roof, which has foam pockets that have been erupting into flames in bursts.  

Emergency personnel have been on scene for about 12 hours, he said. Woodside Road between Hudson and El Camino Real remains closed. Palisi said he could not predict when the fire would be extinguished. He expects firefighters to be on scene for the next few hours.

Updated @ 10:30 a.m.
Firefighters in Redwood City have controlled a six-alarm fire that damaged an apartment building and injured 16 people this morning.

More than 100 firefighters with 20 engines and seven ladder trucks responded to the disaster, Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith said.

Updated @ 9:45 a.m.

Woodside Road from Bonita to Hess is closed as Redwood City firefighters battle a six-alarm blaze Sunday morning.
The city advises motorists to avoid Woodside Road and use alternate routes such as Redwood Avenue, Poplar Avenue, Oak Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, or Jefferson Avenue. They should avoid using Hudson Street north of Woodside Road as it is blocked at Woodside.
Officials anticipate that Woodside Road will remain closed at this location for a significant portion of the day today, and potentially into the evening.
The fire displaced approximately 97 tenants at the 72-unit apartment building. A shelter was set up at Fair Oaks Community Center, 2600 Middlefield Road, for residents needing a temporary location, and the Red Cross is assisting. 
Reports say that 17 people have been sent to the hospital, but the injuries are not considered life-threatening.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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By Bay City News

Fire crews continue to battle a six-alarm fire at a Redwood City apartment complex that sent 16 people to area hospitals and destroyed a four-story apartment building.

The fire was first reported a short time before 2 a.m. at the 72-unit Hallmark House Apartments at 531 Woodside Road, Redwood City Fire Marshal James Palisi said.

Fire crews arrived on the scene to find heavy flames and smoke coming from the building and many residents standing on balconies waiting to be rescued, Palisi said.

Firefighters climbed ladders and entered burning homes to rescue the trapped residents and helped 16 people who were suffering from "minor to moderate injuries" get to local hospitals, he said.

Meanwhile, more than 50 more people were evacuated, including residents of neighboring homes threatened by the blaze, Palisi said.

The Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at the North Fair Oaks
Community Center at 2600 Middlefield Road to accommodate those displaced,
according to The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter's Twitter page.

Firefighters continued to actively battle the fire as of 6:30 a.m., according to the fire marshal.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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