A little before 6:00 P.M. on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 2, Fire Associates received a request from the San Jose Fire Dept. as a result of a Hazmat incident they were working downtown. FASCV member Bruce Dembecki took Fire Support Unit 2 and reported to the scene at 6:15 P.M., where he was met by FASCV members Herman De Kruyff and Don Gilbert. The incident involved over a thousand gallons of diesel fuel for generators being released from the roof of the AT&T building at 95 S. Almaden Ave., pouring down the side of the building and into the storm drains, which lead to the nearby Guadalupe River.
The operation was destined to be an extended one, and the situation was complicated by the fact that the fire truck-lined street was due to be the hub of activity at Sunday's "Rock & Roll Marathon", which resulted in some time pressures on Fire Department officials. Marathon preparations however did make it easier for Fire Associates, who had ready access to tables, tents and porta potties, as a result.
Incident Commander, B/C Kevin Conant, divided his teams into two divisions -- one to go floor-to-floor in the AT&T building measuring contaminants and working on the overflowed material on the roof, the other working on blocking the river with booms and preventing further escape of diesel fuel into the river system.
Fire Support Unit 2 set up a Rehab station and coordinated with the SJFD to provide meals to the teams working the incident. Meals arrived on scene and Operations Chief Andersen set about rotating the crews through Rehab. This was an unusual event for Fire Associates, as it marks one of the rare occasions (if not the first time) we have provided canteen services to an active United States Coast Guard crew. Also served this evening were representatives from State Fish & Game, City Park Rangers, a large contingent of San Jose Police, Santa Clara County Fire's Hazmat Task Force and, of course, the SJFD crews.
The operation lasted overnight and into the morning and into the morning hours with one priority being the river system, and another being the clearing of the roadway to be ready for the early-morning start of the Rock & Roll Marathon. Fire Associates served meals and set up the an "Air Pot" of coffee to serve the IC through the night, before being released right around 10:00 P.M.
- Bruce's photos at: SJS Hazmat
- A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at: AT&T Diesel Spill