Thursday, May 3, 2012

"All Hands On Deck" As House Fire Burns in West San Jose

Finally, after 5 apartment or 4-plex fires in a row, Fire Associates responded to a house fire! Not to make light of the subject, but it did seem like if you lived in an apartment, you were vulnerable. Interesting how events like this seem to come in bunches.
At 8:27 PM on Thursday, May 3, San Jose firefighters were called to a structure fire at 1262 Topaz Ave. on the city's west side. As luck would have it, the Fire Associates members were in the middle of their monthly meeting at the San Jose Fire Department's training center located on Montgomery Ave. Since John Whitaker was sitting closest to the door, he was elected to go grab Fire Support Unit 2 while every one else anxiously awaited the end of the meeting so they could respond, too.
John quickly loaded up the rig with ice, waited for Bruce Dembecki to arrive to ride as co-pilot, and they were off -- only a few minutes after the dispatch. They were joined on scene by Bob Gundrum, Ron Green, George Hoyt, Larry Carr, Don Gilbert, Dan Wong and Walter Huber (guest). It was, basically, "all hands on deck" for FASCV members.

Rehab was set up on a neighbors' lawn directly across the street from the incident. First-arriving companies had their hands full as the fire had already fully engulfed the garage, had spread to a car and fiberglass boat parked in the driveway, and was quickly spreading to at least one adjoining home. Firefighters said the fire was burning with such intensity that they could not give the structure protection assignment their full attention. Second and third alarms were very quickly called as the first-alarm crews were calling in on the radio using terms like "loosing it" and "wires down".

The evening was pleasant weather wise as temperatures were in the low 60s at around 9:00 P.M. But, fire crews were absolutely exhausted as they came into Rehab such was the intensity of the firefighting effort. The support unit was returned to quarters at 5 minutes past midnight.