Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
San Jose firefighters responded to reports of a four-plex apartment building on fire on Thursday, March 15 at 2:43 A.M. Arriving units reported fire through the roof of the fourplex located at 3776 Underwood Street on the city's west side. The incident was eventually upgraded to a four-alarm response, including 2 mutual aid engines, a truck from Santa Clara City Fire and a B/C from Santa Clara County Fire. The fourth alarm units were cancelled en route.
During the incident, the roof collapsed around a ventilation cut, causing one firefighter to fall through the roof, suffering extensive burns to one hand. He was hospitalized in stable condition. As of Friday morning, he is reported to be resting comfortably in the burn ward where he is expected to stay for the next 2 to 5 days, depending upon his recovery.
San Jose Dispatch called Fire Associates for support at 3:19 A.M. and, by 4:00 A.M., Bruce Dembecki had Fire Support Unit 2 on scene. FASCV members Jerry Haag, John Whitaker, George Hoyt, Mike Chappell, Dan Wong and Ron Green were also on hand. Rehab was established in the narrow street and, together with Med 30 and the Rural Metro crews on hand, firefighters were rehydrated, fed and sent back to work. Fire Support Unit 2 was released shortly after 6:00 A.M. It was an unusually "balmy" Winter's night with a 58-degree temperature.
Knock down was achieved about an hour after the first reports, and the incident was under control about 4 hours later. Seventeen residents were displaced by the fire. Red Cross crews were summoned to assist the residents, while VTA provided a bus as shelter for the residents until other arrangements could be made.
- Bruce Dembecki's photos can be viewed at: Underwood Blaze
- John's photos are at: San Jose Apartment Fire
- Photos by Craig Allyn Rose are at: Underwood Apartments
- A San Jose Mercury News story including video can be read at: Firefighter Hurt in Morning Blaze