Four-alarm fire blamed on electricity

Electrical problems likely caused the four-alarm fire that displaced seven developmentally disabled adults from their care facility in Redwood City, investigators said Monday.

The blaze, which appears to have started in the attic of the one-story house at 124 Alameda de las Pulgas, “was electrical in nature, but that’s all we know right now,” said Rich Sampson, division chief with Cal Fire. It caused an estimated $350,000 in damage to the structure and another $25,000 in damage to the house’s contents.

Seven adults with disabilities ranging from autism to mild mental retardation were living in the facility, called Alameda House, when the fire started shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday morning, according to facility manager Danielle Richardson. Four on-duty staff members smelled the smoke from the attic just before the smoke detectors began sounding, and were able to evacuate residents quickly, Sampson said.

It remains unclear when, and whether, residents will be able to return to Alameda House, according to Sampson. Parca, the nonprofit organization that owns the center, will find housing for them in the meantime, Richardson said.

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