The pagers went off at 2:02 A.M. on Saturday morning and John Whiteside and John Whitaker answered the call. This time it was for a 3rd-alarm fire that destroyed Building 25 on the former site of IBM Corp. in the south-eastern portion of the city. For those in the know, you'll recognize the address of 5600 Cottle Road as the birthplace of a precursor of the magnetic hard drive. This achievement was one of the factors that ultimately lead to the "Silicon Valley" economic boom years.
The fireground covered a massive area and negotiating the maze of hoses proved to be a daunting task. But, once set up near the IC, Support Unit 2 proved to be a very popular site as we distributed 7 dozen donuts and a large amount of coffee and lemonade. It was a mild night, but the firefighters were wet, tired and hungry. FASCV was released at approximately 10:30 A.M.
Recently, developers, the City of San Jose and preservationists have been at odds as to the historic importance of the 69,000 square-foot building. But, after this fire completely gutted the structure, there's no denying that the building's future has been greatly compromised. Click on the accompanying photo above for a video of firefighter efforts.
To read more about the fire and developers plans for the site, go to: sfgate.com.
John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: SJS - IBM Fire