Firefighters responded at about 2:36 p.m. to the fire at 250 Del Medio Ave. and found heavy smoke emanating from a second story apartment. Units from Palo Alto, Santa Clara County and Moffett Field fire departments were called in to provide assistance. The fire was controlled within minutes, with no reports of injuries.
"One apartment was totaled," Brown said. "Another unit below suffered water damage and two others suffered smoke damage."
The resident made a classic mistake in dealing with a grease fire by putting water on it instead of covering the fire, Brown said.
The Red Cross was on the scene to provided assistance for the displaced residents, arranging for them to stay in motels. A mother and her two children were given money for groceries and warm clothes, as well as help filling a medication prescription.
Red Cross officials noted that fire safety is essential during the holiday season. Most fires begin in the kitchen, but during the holidays space heaters and unattended candles increase the likelihood of an accident. Red Cross tips include:
• Keep all combustibles at least three feet away from heat sources such as stoves, fireplaces, space heaters and candles.
• Never leave lit stoves, candles or other fires unattended.
• Keep a fire extinguisher no more than 10 feet away from your stove, on the exit side of the room. Learn how to use it.
For more Red Cross safety and emergency preparedness information, call the Palo Alto Area Chapter at (650) 688-0415, or visit www.paarc.org.