Sunday, October 23, 2011

FASCV Called Out for 3-Alarmer In San Jose

Date: 10/23/11
Type: Structure Fire
Size:   3 Alarm
Jurisdiction: San Jose Fire Department
Location: 1675 Bowling Green Drive, San Jose
Responding Members: Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag and Don Gilbert
Response Units: FSU2

Bruce has provided the following report:

A little before 2:00AM on October 23, San Jose Fire called for Fire Associates at 1675 Bowling Green Drive, San Jose. An apartment complex had been burning and within 30 minutes, with flames shooting through the roof, a decision was made to go to a 3rd alarm. While the fire was raging on both floors of the complex, the situation was made more challenging for firefighters as the flooring on the second story of the building became quite weak. The fire building was one in a complex of several, and all 32 apartments in that building were uninhabitable as a result of the fire.

Upon arrival, firefighters had difficulties advancing a line much further inside than 15 feet into the building due to extremely heavy smoke and flames inside the building. The hallway between the units acted as a tunnel trapping heat and smoke - this, together with the number of units, complicated firefighting efforts. Two residents of the complex were transported to hospital as a result of injuries suffered in the blaze. One resident was rescued off a 2nd-story balcony and another was treated for injuries after jumping from a balcony.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters set about gathering the residents still on scene and organizing Red Cross assistance. Of the 32 apartments, firefighters found residents from 17, totaling 47 people who had lost most of their belongings and a place to sleep. Valley Transit Authority responded two city busses to the scene to give the residents somewhere sheltered to wait while the Red Cross worked with them on finding temporary housing and other assistance. As it was already after 4:00AM, it is believed the residents from other units had found temporary accommodation with friends in other buildings in the complex and Red Cross's work load will rise as Sunday goes on.

FASCV member Bruce Dembecki arrived on scene at 2:20AM with Fire Support Unit 2. He was met by members Don Gilbert and Jerry Haag. Rehab was quickly established and FSU 2 served firefighters both hot and cold drinks and as always provided a great location for firefighters to take a break and recover from their exertion.