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California: Massive fire destroys affordable housing project in Redwood City

Authorities confirmed that there were no injuries. However, the project appears to have suffered a "total loss."

Incendio en complejo residencial en construcción en Redwood City

(Youtube- KRON 4)

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Early Monday morning, a massive eight-alarm fire devastated an affordable housing complex under construction in Redwood City, California.

According to reports, the fire started on the fifth floor of the complex, located on the 2700 block of Middlefield Road, in a neighborhood south of Costco and west of Target.

At 10:15 a.m., Menlo Park and Redwood City fire crews were dispatched to the fire, but high winds exacerbated the situation, complicating extinguishing efforts.

Menlo Park Fire Protection Chief Mark Lorenzen confirmed that no one was injured but the project, which has been in the works for a decade, will no longer be able to be completed next year as planned, as the complex appears to have suffered a "total loss.”

26 fire trucks, seven ladder trucks and 10 mutual aid trucks were involved in the fire extinguishing operation, demonstrating the magnitude of the incident and the coordinated response of the emergency services.

Security measures and travel

The fire forced residents of Pacific, Calvin and Dumbarton avenues to evacuate. Firefighters reported that about 150 people had to leave their homes due to embers which could put them in danger. Additionally, Caltrain experienced delays as the fire spread near the train tracks.

Classes at Garfield Elementary School, located on Middlefield Road, were also canceled due to smoke in the area. Parents were asked to come and pick up their children.

Impact on the community

The affected project, known as Middlefield Junction in North Fair Oaks, was intended to provide 179 units of affordable housing. In addition to the residential units, the development was going to include childcare services and community spaces, with a variety of one, two and three-bedroom units.

"It's sickening," said San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum. "It's a tragedy to see this go up in flames. I'm just heartbroken about this." His colleague, Supervisor Dave Canepa, also shared his thoughts: "To see this up in flames is obviously something that is tragic. This housing was desperately needed."

The Middlefield Junction development was supported by $155 million of financing. This included $78 million from the California Housing Accelerator Fund, administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Additionally, the project received $30.5 million in loans from the County of San Mateo and its Housing Authority, nearly $13 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and $6.78 million from Measure K half-cent taxes.