Two-alarm fire at U-Haul damages eight vehicles

Neighbors evacuated due to blaze's proximity to 500 gallon propane tank

Arson investigators are searching for the cause of a two-alarm fire last night at the U-Haul at 62 W. El Camino Real, a spokeswoman with the Mountain View Fire Department said.

The fire was reported at 11:58 p.m. on July 19 by a police officer on patrol in the area. When the fire department arrived at the U-Haul -- a national business which rents large moving trucks -- fire fighters found multiple trucks on fire, according to Jaime Garrett, the fire department's public information officer.

Because the fire was burning near a 500 gallon propane tank and other vehicles, a second alarm was immediately called and nearby homes were evacuated, Garrett said.

The blaze was extinguished by 12:24 a.m., Garrett said. Arson investigators are investigating the cause of the fire.

According to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie, the U-Haul franchise has reported numerous separate incidents of large quantities of gasoline being siphoned from its trucks.

The siphoning incidents were first reported to police at the end of 2010, Wylie said, and the total value of all the gas stolen has been estimated at approximately $30,000.

Wylie said that police are not assuming that there is a connection between the fire and the theft of gas, but they are considering the possibility.

In total, eight vehicles were damaged by the fire -- seven were severely burned and one had minor damage, Garrett said. The Santa Clara County and Palo Alto fire department assisted in the response.


Posted by The Eye, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

The Eye is a registered user.

While this may have been an accident, with Arson investigators involved, I would look into possible competition for the cuplrits. Or at least a firebug hired by them. It's a thought, anyway.

Posted by Michael, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

"I would look into possible competition for the cuplrits"

What?? That makes NO SENSE. Why would a competitor risk criminal charges and potentially injuring or killing residents with a propane explosion when such a fire will have NO effect on business once the insurance kicks in? Especially when you consider that these are national chains we are talking about her, not local individual competitors! When was the last time you heard about a national chain hiring thugs to burn down a branch of another national chain?

Posted by saywhat, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm

wut? I'd look into someone who got late fees etc... disgruntled crazy customer.

Posted by Patch, a resident of Castro City
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Patch says that there was a gas siphoning operation going on there and that $30K worth of gas had been stolen.

Posted by John the Man, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I'm guessing that using locking gas caps is too complicated for U-Haul and their customers?

Posted by Mr. T, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Steal gas, burn the evidence.

Glad my propane source is intact.

Posted by Jesse, a resident of Castro City
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Is this near the Day Worker Center?

Posted by jupiterk, a resident of Gemello
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

What no video cameras in the premises? I would be surprised if they don't have cameras installed in many places within the premises.

Posted by Mr. DePortum, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

Look @ day worker center for clues!!

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 21 comments | 1,864 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,238 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,231 views

College Freshmen: Avoiding the Pitfalls
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,075 views

Camp Glamp
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,029 views