News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Police, Fire and ATF National Response Team Announce Cause of Walgreen's Fire
Contact : Sandra Brown, Sergeant, City of Palo Alto, Police Department    650-704-2930
Palo Alto, CA -- The National Response Team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the San Francisco Field Division were requested to assist in the investigation of a fire that occurred approximately 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night, July 1, 2007. The fire occurred at the commercial building that housed a Walgreens drugstore and a Subway sandwich shop. The building is located on one of the busiest streets in the Palo Alto area, 310 University Avenue.

Firefighters from Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Santa Clara County responded and were involved in the fire suppression for more than 5 hours. Preliminary damages are estimated at nearly 8 million dollars and the building was completely destroyed on the second floor with water and some smoke damage to adjacent buildings. There were no injuries reported.

The scene examination was completed today, July 9, 2007 with all agencies involved in the investigation determining that the cause of this fire was arson. This conclusion is based on the interviews conducted and scene examination over a week long time period.

The investigation is continuing between the Palo Alto Police Department and the local ATF Special Agents.

ATF’s partnership with federal, state and local officers is vital to the most effective processing efforts at an explosives or fire scene. The NRT capitalizes on that by working alongside its partners in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or the origin of the fire, conducting interviews and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion or fire.

This is the 17th activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2007 and the 635th since the program began in 1978.