While the Beechwood School met all state code standards for fire safety, unfortunately its alarm system was not connected to the Menlo Park Fire Department. What most people don't know is that state law does not require monitored fire alarms in schools that were built prior to 2008.
The lack of required connectivity of school fire alarms to the fire district was the subject of one of the San Mateo County Grand Jury reports from 2008 - San Mateo County Public School Fire Alarm Systems. If Beechwood was connected to the fire district, the fire department would have known about the fire immediately, and could have responded in minutes.
You can read more about the monitored fire alarm issue and how it relates to the Beechwood School and some of our other local schools in the September 26, 2012 issue of the Menlo Park Almanac.