Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 18, 2008 -- 4 Responses for San Jose Fire

Sunday, May 18 was a busy day for Fire Associates and the San Jose Fire Department. Read on...

"The Villages" - It started off at about 11:30 A.M. with a 4-Alarm fire at a retirement complex in the Evergreen district of the city. First reported as a "Precautionary First Alarm", the fire actually fully-involved 4 units of an 8-unit building. Your Blogmaster (ever on the spot) lives just a few blocks from the sprawling retirement community and quickly noticed a large column of smoke immediately after the first dispatch. John Whiteside was called on the phone to be ready to "saddle up", while John Whitaker headed to the fire scene. Whitaker arrived at 5028 Cribari Vale just behind the 2nd-in engine and took some spectacular photos (view here) before calling Whiteside to inform him that this was "the real deal!" John Whiteside brought Support Unit 2 and FASCV members Mike Chappell and Brian Woodson also arrived on scene. Firefighters worked hard to contain the major damage to the 4-plexes where the fire began, limiting the extent of the fire in the other half of the building to minimal fire damage in the attic space and water damage. Unfortunately, as reported in the SJ Mercury News, the fire resulted in the death of the occupant of the unit where the fire started.

Creek Estates Court - While on scene at "The Villages", firefighters in Rehab noticed a large column of smoke coming from a neighborhood just outside the complex's main gate. Fire units that had just been released from the 4-alarmer, quickly made their way to the address on Creek Estates Court to find the fence and side of the garage fully involved. It was odd to see Engine 3 and Truck 303 as the first-in equipment. They are a downtown-based station, but had been called to "The Villages" and became the primary equipment on this second fire -- way out of their normal response area. John Whitaker voluntarily left from "The Villages" fire in his private vehicle to provide these 1st-alarm crews with much-needed relief on a very hot day. All of these crews had just worked a 4-alarm fire and had not yet made it into rehab. Early impressions were that the Creek Estates fire looked serious, so Brian Woodson left "The Villages" to retrieve Support Unit 3 from its base at Station 26 on Tully Rd. When the Creek Estates fire was quickly doused, Brian brought the support unit back to "The Villages". John Whitaker's photos of this fire can be seen at: Creek Estates Ct. Fire.

Tier 2 Grass Fire - At 4:35 P.M., shortly after Brian Woodson arrived back at "The Villages" with Support Unit 3, San Jose Fire called a Tier 2 for a grass fire near a mobile home park on Old Oakland Rd. at Bern Ct. Brian and Mike Chappell responded from the Evergreen district to this fire way out in the north-central portion of the city. Brian and Mike provided much-needed service to the fire crews who had a difficult time containing the fire to an area along Coyote Creek and some surrounding grass and brush. The fire was adjacent to the San Jose Municipal Golf Course.

And now for the fourth fire of the day in San Jose!!!

6247 Solomon Court - At about 6:30 P.M., while John Whiteside was returning Support Unit 2 to Station 26, San Jose Fire crews were called to 6247 Solomon Court in the southern part of the city. This 3-alarm fire involved a large 2-story home -- the front of which was fully involved when the first equipment arrived, according to a San Jose Mercury News story. Fortunately, John was only one block from the station when the called was dispatched. "Fortunate" because his supplies were totally depleted from the two previous Evergreen-area fires. He quickly restocked, and headed out to the Blossom Valley district. Brian Woodson and Mike Chappell eventually joined John when their Support Unit 3 was released from the tier fire. FASCV members Don Gilbert and Jill Levy were also on scene to lend support. Most of the fire crews working this fire had either been on the earlier tier fire or had been at "The Villages" location. It was after 11:00 P.M. before John returned home. That is a long day in the hot sun!