Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5-Alarm Fire Largest of the Year in Santa Clara

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date and Time: 05-09-2012, 2200 hours
Agency: Santa Clara City Fire
Incident Address: 1924 Hillebrant, Santa Clara
Type: Five alarms

Agency Responders:
SNC: E-1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10; T-2, 8; R-2;  IC was Batt-1 (Weirshauser)
SJS: E-10, 14; T-14; Batt. 10, plus station fills
CNT: E-1, 10; T-1

In addition to everything else, Santa Clara County Engines 11 and 2 were also providing station coverage. County B3 was the B/C with the County engines making up the fifth alarm.

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Santa Clara Fire Department responded to reports of a fire on a building site near Scott and El Camino Real in downtown Santa Clara in the late evening of May 9th. A large complex of town houses, some occupied, some under construction located at 1924 Hillebrant Place was ablaze. First in fire fighters reported heavy flames on two of the buildings that were under construction, and occupied town houses adjacent to the fire buildings were under threat from the huge blaze.

With flames shooting out of the construction site over 100' into the air, the IC quickly requested a second alarm response, and then a third, fourth and ultimately a fifth alarm response to the incident. It is reported that the flames could be seen from as far away as Saratoga.

Bob Gundrum responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 1 and was joined on scene by Fire Associates Members Jerry Haag, Rob Green, Dan Wong and Bruce Dembecki, along with Fire Associates guest Walter Huber. Rehab was quickly established and, despite the late time of night, cold drinks were the order of the evening, with a large amount of Gatorade and water being consumed by large numbers of firefighters spread around the fire ground. While Fire Support Unit 1 served as the location of the formal rehab process, deliveries were made by several Fire Associates team members throughout the large fire ground.

Several occupied buildings were damaged by radiant heat or in one case a fire spread into the attic, as fire brands were being thrown hundreds of yards away from the fire itself. A small number of residents were displaced from the one completed building that suffered some damage, while the two buildings under construction were completely destroyed in the blaze, along with several cars parked near the fire scene. The Santa Clara Fire Dept. was assisted on scene by units from Santa Clara County Fire and San Jose Fire, while both departments also provided additional resources to provide station coverage for the Santa Clara area.

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 2230, released: 0130 hours on the 10th.
Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Dan Wong, Ron Green, Jerry Haag, Bruce Dembecki and Walter Huber (guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag and Bruce Dembecki