SAN JOSE — A fire ignited late Monday night in an industrial dryer at the Boccardo Reception Center, prompting the evacuation of dozens of people from the largest homeless shelter in Santa Clara County.
San Jose firefighters responded to the blaze at 2011 Little Orchard Street and found clothes on fire inside the dryer, according to Capt. Mitch Matlow. The fire, contained to the dryer, was quickly extinguished with no injuries.
Still, 238 people who were staying at the Boccardo Reception Center were evacuated amid concerns about air quality, said Stephanie Demos, a spokeswoman for Home First, which manages housing and shelter sites across Santa Clara County. The guests were given temporary shelter at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.
“That was quite a group to move over,” Demos said. “We’re delighted there were no injuries or structural damage.to the center.”
Abe Andrade, executive director of the fairgrounds, received a call at 3 a.m. asking for help in temporarily housing the people from the Boccardo Center. He went down to the fairgrounds and opened up the Gateway Hall.
“Our facilities team rallied, got to the Fairgrounds early (Tuesday) morning, and we had a safe welcoming space ready to accept our neighbors,” Andrade said in a press release.
Several people at Boccardo Reception Center worked through the night cleaning and assessing the damage, Demos said. The people were able to return to the center by early Tuesday afternoon.
The shelter did lose scores of linens and has put out an “emergency call” to the community for donations of twin sheets, twin blankets and towels. Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit the Home First website or drop the needed items off at the Boccardo Reception Center.