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Fire Damages Hewlett’s Calif. Home

November 20, 2000

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ The home of Silicon Valley pioneer William Hewlett was seriously damaged in a fire, and the 87-year-old billionaire had to be evacuated from a second-floor balcony.

No injuries were reported in the Sunday evening blaze, which did at least $1 million damage to the home.

The three-alarm blaze was extinguished just before midnight Sunday, about 3 1/2 hours after it was reported, fire Capt. Tony Spitaleri said Monday.

Hewlett, 87, was in a second-floor room and was evacuated in a rescue stretcher because flames blocked the stairs, Spitaleri said.

The fire badly damaged the center wing of the three-wing, 8,000-square-foot home, he said. Its cause was not immediately determined.

``There’s over a million dollars in damage and it may be more,″ Spitaleri said. ``We don’t know yet if there were any significant materials like artwork that may have been lost.″

Hewlett and his wife spent the night in a guest house on the grounds. It was not known how many people were in the house when the fire broke out Sunday evening.

Hewlett and David Packard, who died in 1996, started their company with a borrowed $538 in a Palo Alto garage in 1939. A coin toss settled whose name went first.

The company began making electronic test equipment and later branched into calculators, computers and printers. H-P now has 86,000 employees worldwide, with more than $42 billion in revenue in fiscal 1999.

In September, Forbes magazine listed Hewlett as the 26th richest American, with an estimated net worth of $9 billion.

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