Friday, January 25, 2008

January 17, 2008 -- 4th-alarm Response for San Jose Fire

On Thursday morning, January 17th, at 02:31, FASCV was paged by the San Jose Fire Department to 89 South First Street. Located on the northwest corner of First and San Fernando, the fire involved a large building that was undergoing historic restoration. Don Gilbert and John Whiteside responded in Support Units 2 and 3.

John Whiteside has sent along this report

"The Thursday fire call was a looonnnngggg one. Don said we should take both units, so we did. Left the station at 03:15 just as E26 had returned to pick up Comm 26. When we got to the scene, no one was operating Comm 26. We were asked if we could set it up and we did so. Randall arrived after the 08:00 shift change to man the van. Noted our generator ran for 9.5 hrs. before running out of gas; I kept timing it! BC Kevin Conant released us about 06:30 but, due to what was to occur, I asked if it was OK to stay longer, without violating commands. He had no problem, so Mike Chappell, Don and I were there until 15:45. We used over half the water tank, so we estimate about 26 gallons -- mostly coffee.

Building was 140 years old and being renovated. Santa Clara City Fire sent a structure alarm. Embers all over downtown! Everything collapsed into the first floor. The problem was the gas main fire that no one could turn off due to the shaky condition of the front wall. The gas fire was about 6-10 feet inside the A side. So, that got done about 14:00 after the Historical Committee and other city staff agreed it could not be preserved. This was after 4 long-reach forklifts and an excavator were delivered and 2 forklifts were positioned at the front to stabilize the wall for the gas shutoff.

A restaurant, the E&O Trading Co., a southeast Asian food place, was on the NE corner and the entrance was within the collapse zone. Gary Galasso, the oncoming IC had alerted me to possible food pickup. They eventually got that restaurant to do a seated lunch for all fire and city personnel -- GREAT! Meantime, VTA top manager had hung around and had Togo’s brought in. I had 2 sandwiches from them before the real food was available. Had walked to McD’s on San Carlos/4th for some breakfast around 09:30.

FASCV got lots of "Thank You’s" for being there. Light rail NB was shut down from Thurs. 02:00 til Fri. night. I had 2 hrs. sleep before the alarm -- we were on-scene for 12.5 hrs. and then came the clean-up, gas-up and restocking! Sure slept good Thurs. night!!"

Thanks John for this report.