At 11:47 P.M. on Nov. 20, Santa Clara County Fire requested Fire Associates assistance for a 2nd-alarm fire in Campbell. The fire was burning in a 7-Eleven convenience store at 262 W. Sunnyoaks Avenue -- near the intersection with Winchester Blvd. Don Gilbert answered the call with Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by John Whitaker and Mike Chappell.
Firefighters were faced with two issues -- limited access to the structure and an extensive amount of smoke. Although called a "convenience" store, the fire was anything but. The building was located adjacent to a combination Vallero gas station/Deli -- it literally butted up against the non-involved gas station. The cinder-block wall of the gas station acted as a very-effective fire wall and kept the active fire from spreading. County Truck 1 was able to "reach" over the gas station/Deli and attack the flames from above. The front of the 7-Eleven was accessible, but a large quantity of smoke initially kept firefighters at a distance. Adding to the difficulty, CNT Engine 10 was away from its Sunnyoaks Station on another call at the time of the fire. Sunnyoaks Station is located 2 blocks west of the incident. CNT Truck 5 was first-in and had to use its pumps for the initial hand-line attack.
With temperatures dipping into the low 40s, rehab was kept busy making many pots of coffee. Once again, cold and wet firefighters were very happy to see Fire Associates on scene. Support Unit 2 was not released until 4:00 A.M. after a long, cold Fall morning.
- John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: Campbell 7-Eleven Burns