On Thursday morning, Aug. 26, Fire Associates was paged at 4:46 A.M. to a 3-alarm house fire in San Jose. The fire was burning in a home located at 910 Del Monte Place on the city's west side. Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit 2 and was joined by Jerry Haag, John Whitaker, George Hoyt and Dan Wong.
After several days of record warmth, this morning saw the return of the area's natural air conditioning -- fog and overcast off the S.F. Bay. So, instead of serving the ice cold beverages of the past week, hot coffee was now the order of the day. A dozen or more pots were made during the course of the morning.
A unique aspect of this incident was the mix of Fire units on scene. An earlier, multi-alarm house fire located not too far away had the close-in units to this fire already committed. So, the first-in engine companies to this fire were rigs from downtown stations. It's not very often you see San Jose Engines 3, 7 and 26 along with Trucks 1 and 13 out in the suburban, westside neighborhoods! In addition, Med 30 was also at the earlier fire, so Fire Associates' ability to set up and staff Rehab was doubly important.
The nature of the fire was also unique. First reports were of an explosion in the garage and, in fact, first-arriving firefighters found the natural gas line to the home broken ahead of the metering valve and on fire. This meant that the firefight had to be conducted from a distance while awaiting the arrival of PG&E to dig up the line and pinch it off. Once a PG&E backhoe was on scene, that operation went quickly and firefighters could then finish extinguishing the flames and assess the damage. Also hampering the effort was the dense foliage that was part of the landscaping surrounding the home which made access to the structure difficult.
Support Unit 2 was released at approximately 10:00 A.M.
- John's photos can be viewed at: 910 Del Monte Place
- A San Jose Mercury-News story can be read at: Spate of San Jose Fires