December 7, 2021

Mysterious Mansion Tied to Google’s Larry Web page Combusts in Three-Alarm Hearth

5 min read


A 3-alarm hearth at a Palo Alto house owned by billionaire Google co-founder Larry Page has neighbors demanding solutions on whether or not the California mansion was getting used unlawfully as an workplace for tech employees.

On Tuesday evening, firefighters responded to a blaze on the 6-bedroom, 5.5-bath house, which per county data has an assessed worth of greater than $10 million. Hearth officers say crews had been dispatched to the Bryant Road property at 8:10 p.m., after a neighbor who was away on the time noticed bother on a safety digital camera.

The identification of the 911 caller stays unclear. However a fireplace dispatcher mentioned one caller noticed grey smoke on a door digital camera, based on a radio name on the web site Broadcastify, and neighbors instructed us they heard a loud popping sound which they believed got here from shattered home windows.

Dozens of autos swarmed the neighborhood, the place Web page owns a number of properties, with a sturdy displaying from Palo Alto Police, the hearth departments of Mountain View and Santa Clara County, and the volunteer group Santa Clara County Hearth Associates.

In line with Palo Alto Online, which first reported on the hearth, one neighbor mentioned the house was owned by “Web page or Google itself” and getting used through the day as an workplace for a small group of staff. Certainly, public data point out the property is owned by an LLC that has shared two addresses with Web page’s household basis, however it’s not completely clear who’s at present utilizing or residing on the property.

Google didn’t return messages by press time.

An individual with information of the property instructed The Every day Beast that Web page purchased the house lately and has used it as a visitor home. And neighbor Rebecca Eisenberg, who took a video of the incident, described the constructing as a “visitor cottage.”

Nobody was house when the hearth began, and nobody was critically injured, Deputy Hearth Chief Kevin McNally instructed The Every day Beast. Two firefighters, nevertheless, sustained minor accidents that didn’t require medical consideration.

“Crews arrived to seek out heavy hearth on three sides of the construction and on each tales,” famous one Facebook post from the Palo Alto Hearth Division. “Moreover, flames from the hearth threatened tall timber on one facet of the construction.”

He owns what seems like most of that block.

The reason for the inferno in Outdated Palo Alto—an prosperous neighborhood that Apple mogul Steve Jobs as soon as known as house—is beneath investigation. “Preliminary knock down of the hearth occurred about 25 minutes into the incident,” McNally mentioned. “Hearth crews remained on scene till the early hours of the morning to place out sizzling spots and to watch the scene.”

McNally mentioned the primary and second flooring behind the construction, in addition to the attic, had been considerably broken.

However in wake of the incident, some neighbors argued over what they perceived as authorities’ aggressive response, whereas others challenged whether or not the property’s current use adhered to native zoning legal guidelines.

Inside just a few hours of the blaze, flames weren’t seen from the road, based on two folks current on the web site.

“He owns what seems like most of that block,” Eisenberg, a former metropolis council candidate who beforehand served as normal counsel at Reddit, instructed The Every day Beast.

“Within the context of a fireplace division that’s working on a diminished price range with fewer engines and fewer firefighters, now we have a billionaire whose small hearth—a minimum of non-visible hearth—created this terribly costly, publicly financed response,” Eisenberg mentioned. (Regardless of being one of many wealthiest areas within the nation, Palo Alto has confronted tens of tens of millions of {dollars} in price range cuts lately.)

One nameless commenter on Palo Alto On-line, the web site for a weekly newspaper, grumbled: “I too was shocked at what number of hearth and police sped previous my home on the way in which to this fireplace, completely ignoring cease indicators. Do a number of police automobiles actually need to hurry full-throttle, metal-to-the-petal [sic], by cease indicators? I get the hearth engines, however greater than 10 police automobiles?

“My response was additionally that it should be good to be a billionaire.”

One other particular person chimed in that “overly rich Palo Alto company varieties residing in our neighborhoods have to take extra accountability for his or her negligence and oversights. The world doesn’t revolve round their narcissistic egos and huge greenback indicators.”

Nonetheless, not all residents agreed with some locals’ suspicions of particular remedy for a Silicon Valley movie star. One neighbor, Diane Christensen, mentioned that in different blazes within the neighborhood, “the response was equally fast.”

She instructed us Web page lives within the space, owns a number of constructions close by and guards his privateness. “He owns completely different properties somewhere else,” the resident added. “He has members of the family residing in a few of them and tenants residing in others.”

“The properties are nicely saved, they’re good neighbors, and we don’t wish to bother him.”

Web page’s community of properties in Palo Alto has prompted intrigue for years.

When he acquired a fancy of properties over a decade in the past, he accomplished intensive renovations that included an unlimited underground gap, based on two individuals who stay within the space. The mission raised issues over how it will have an effect on groundwater and stoked hypothesis that Web page was constructing a bunker. (In 2010, local press reported on neighbors’ issues about what seemed to be nonstop groundwater pumping from a Web page-owned residence so contractors may construct a basement.)

Over the previous yr Web page, 48, has repeatedly popped up in nationwide headlines. For months his whereabouts had been a thriller, till Insider tracked him this summer time to a distant a part of Fiji, the place some locals consider he could have bought his personal island.

Across the similar time, news broke that Web page had obtained New Zealand residency earlier within the yr, after making use of by the nation’s fast-tracked course of for the tremendous wealthy. He’ll have a lot of time to pal round with fellow tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who owns a 477-acre swath of land on the South Island. Thiel controversially obtained full citizenship in 2011, regardless that he had spent simply 12 days within the nation.

Web page and his Google cofounder Sergey Brin are every navigating new life chapters. Price over $100 billion apiece, the pair stepped down from the search large’s father or mother firm in 2019. They keep greater than half of the enterprise’ voting energy, in case they ever change their minds.

— with extra reporting by William Bredderman

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