EPA City Hall arson fire forces evacuation

January 4, 2011 9:25:06 PM PST
About 50 people were evacuated from East Palo Alto City Hall this evening after an arson fire filled the downstairs with smoke and forced the cancellation of tonight's City Council meeting, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District chief said.

The one-alarm fire was set at about 4:45 p.m. in a trash can in a first-floor bathroom at 2415 University Ave., which houses the City Council chambers, administrative offices, and library, fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

The fire was quickly controlled but required about 50 people to be evacuated, including students and staff at the library.

The three-story building's sprinkler system was not activated because the trash can was set back in a wall, which prevented the flames from spreading, Schapelhouman said.

No injuries were reported.

Tonight's City Council meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. but was canceled.

Police are following up on two juvenile suspects who were captured on surveillance video, Schapelhouman said.

He said the building would likely be open on Wednesday after it's aired out later tonight.