‘It’s sickening:’ 8-alarm fire rips through Redwood City affordable housing development

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Fire crews on Monday were sent to fight a massive, eight-alarm fire in Redwood City that ripped through an affordable housing development under construction, dashing hopes that it would be rebuilt any time soon. 

Fire crews in Menlo Park and Redwood City were dispatched at 10:15 a.m. to a blaze at 2700 block of Middlefield Road.

Menlo Park Fire Protection Chief Mark Lorenzen said there were no injuries from the blaze, but the building looks to be a “total loss.” 

Video on Citizen App showed smoke pouring out of the windows and crews blasting the flames with hoses.

Lorenzen said that the fire started with some insulation on the 5th floor of the building and that the wind was proving to be a firefighting challenge. 

“It’s just a tinder box,” Lorenzen said. 

Last summer, San Mateo County boasted that construction was underway on this site – a 179-unit affordable housing project known as Middlefield Junction in North Fair Oaks, which used to be a recycling facility. 

San Mateo County Supervisor President Warren Slocum said he has been working on this project for 10 years. It was supposed to be completed next year.

The fire puts the building back at square No. 1. 

“It’s sickening,” Slocum said on Monday, with obvious disappointment in his voice. “It’s a tragedy to see this go up in flames. I’m just heartbroken about this.” 

His colleague, Supervisor Dave Canepa, agreed. 

“To see this up in flames is obviously something that is tragic,” Canepa said on his way to the scene. “This housing was desperately needed.” 

Canepa said that the development was also supposed to include childcare and community space, as well as one- two- and three-bedroom units. 

The San Mateo County Sheriff issued an order, saying that anyone who lives near Pacific, Calvin and Dumbarton avenues should evacuate immediately. 

Assistant Sheriff Ryan Monaghan said about 50 people were displaced because of burning embers that wafted near their homes. 

Caltrain also experienced delays since the fire was burning near the tracks. 

The fire brought out 26 fire engines, 7 ladder trucks and 10 mutual aid trucks. 

Massive fire at 2700 block of Middlefield Road in Redwood City. Citizen App. June 2, 2024 

A building in Redwood City was on fire. Photo: Citizen App June 3, 2024



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