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Fire Hits Tesla Property Early Wednesday

Incident caused no injuries, but minor property damage.

A branch of Tesla Motors in Palo Alto suffered minor damage in a one-alarm fire early Wednesday morning.

The initial emergency call came at 12:57 a.m. from a security guard patrolling the 3500 Deer Creek Road property, which Tesla officials described as a testing facility, Palo Alto Fire Department Acting Battalion Chief Doug Conn said. No one was injured during the fire and the facility suffered minor smoke and water damage. The building was unoccupied, Conn said.

When the first engine crew arrived, firefighters saw smoke, smelled a strong odor and saw water flowing from under a door, Conn said. They elevated the fire to a single-alarm and called for backup, he said.

Once firefighters entered the building they noticed two unknown items on a three feet by five feet storage cart that were both burnt to cinders. The facility's sprinkler system had already extinguished the flames, Conn said. 

"The fire was isolated to the storage cart," Conn said. "And when it caught, it got going good."

The reason the material burnt so thoroughly, Conn said, was because the sprinklers were 12 feet above the ground.

"It took a long time for the fire's heat to reach the sprinkler and activate it," he said.

Emergency personnel were off the scene by 3:30 a.m., but the department's inspector stayed several hours to investigate the fire's cause. Around noon Wednesday, it was still under investigation, Conn said.

The overall response included three engines, a ladder truck, rescue unit, medics, and a battalion chief. A Hazmat crew was also standing by, along with city officials from the building and utilities departments, who helped secure the building. Conn said five Tesla officials showed up at the site as well. 

The testing facility was part of HP's old campus.

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