At 3 minutes after midnight on Monday, Jan. 10, the South County Fire District called for Fire Associates assistance. Located at 1060 Church Street, at the intersection with Columbet Ave., a barn was fully involved and threatening a home and several out-buildings. This location is east of the Highway 101 freeway. John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by Mike Chappell, John Whitaker and Dan Wong.
On a very cold (and getting colder by the hour!!!) winter morning, FASCV members quickly established a rehab area and served hot coffee, donuts, and assorted Clif Bars. The air temperature by 3:30 A.M. reached a bone-chilling 28 degrees! The barn was located approximately 75 yards to the west of Columbet Ave. and was surrounded by corrals containing an assortment of small farm animals...and a llama. Several ponies were inside the barn at the time of the fire, one of which was severely burned and tended to by a neighboring veterinary doctor.
Responding for the South County Fire District were 3 engines, 2 water tenders, and Battalion Chief Ken McGeever from Cal Fire. Responding in on mutual aid were Gilroy Fire's Engines 61 and 81 along with Battalion Chief Phil King. The barn and several small sheds were a total loss, but a nearby home was saved after a small roof fire was extinguished. Fire Associates was released just before 3:30 A.M. As the serving table was being washed, the water on the table turned to ice between the time water was poured and a cleaning cloth was applied! Proof that it really was cold.
- John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: San Martin Barn Fire
- John's video of the fire can be downloaded at: Barn Fire Video