Woman killed in Menlo Park house fire identified

By the Daily Post staff

UPDATE, JUNE 17 — The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim of a house fire on N. Lemon Avenue in Menlo Park as Sally Rosati Banks, 72.

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 — An elderly woman was killed in an accidental house fire on N. Lemon Avenue in Menlo Park on Friday (June 14) night, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District reports.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was using a medical device to breathe oxygen and was smoking when the fire broke out, according to fire officials.

“Investigators determined that the elderly female had been smoking at the time of the accident and was in a seated position when the accident occurred,” a statement from Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said. “A medical oxygen cylinder used for breathing-related issues had recently been changed by her attendant, who was not in the room at the time.”

A caretaker at the home called 911 at 9:17 p.m. to report the fire.

When firefighters arrived at 9:20 p.m., they found an unresponsive elderly woman in the hallway of the home on N. Lemon Avenue. She had sustained burns to her upper body and was without a pulse, according to Schapelhouman. He said that paramedics determined that the woman had succumbed to her injuries and resuscitation efforts weren’t warranted.

The crew of fire engine No. 3 checked to make sure the fire hadn’t extended to any other place in the house and they used a blower to clear the home of smoke. Meanwhile, the crew of engine No. 4 spoke with the caretakers and consoled family members who had arrived at the house.

Schapelhouman said that investigators determined the cause of the fire was “accidental” with damage of $3,500.

Since the fire wasn’t witnesses, Fire Marshal/Investigator Jon Johnston, working with Menlo Park police and the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office, examined the scene of the fire. Schapelhouman said it appears the victim was either adjusting or in some way addressing the oxygen tubing when the accident occurred.