Thursday, May 24, 2012

3-Alarm Office Fire in San Jose

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date: May 24, 2012
Type: Structure Fire
Size: 3 Alarm
Jurisdiction: San Jose Fire Department
Location: 1060 Saratoga Ave., San Jose
Responding Members: Bruce Dembecki (Driver), Jerry Haag, Dan Wong, Mike Chappell, Don Gilbert and FASCV Guest Walter Huber
Response Units: FSU2
Requested at 11:48 P.M., on scene at 12:05 A.M., released at 2:00 A.M. and back in quarters by 2:30 A.M.
San Jose firefighters found themselves in a challenging firefight on Thursday May 24th. After responding to reports of a fire alarm at the Saratoga Medical Clinic at 1060 Saratoga Ave., firefighters were able to discover one of the offices charged with smoke. At that time firefighters called for a full first alarm response as first-due Engine 14 went to work trying to find out what was burning.
As they made entry to different offices in the two story building, firefighters found increasing levels of smoke, but no fire. With heat signatures in the wall and the attic space, the incident was upgraded to a second alarm. Ventilating the roof was complicated by the building's metal clad roof construction method, which made the roof untenable for firefighters and their gear. Building sprinklers were activated on several occasions as firefighters used them to try and douse the hard to find flames.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
As complications continued accessing the fire, the incident was upgraded to a third alarm over an hour into the incident, and then 20 minutes later, without calling a fourth alarm, several additional units including a mutual aid engine and truck from Santa Clara were added to the incident - now almost 90 minutes since first reports were received.
The third alarm request also resulted in a call being made for Fire Associates support at 11:48 P.M. and Fire Support Unit 2, driven by FASCV member Bruce Dembecki, was on scene at 12:05 A.M. Bruce was joined on scene by FASCV members Jerry Haag, Don Gilbert, Dan Wong and Mike Chappell, along with Fire Associates guest Walter Huber. Both coffee and cold drinks were popular as the night wore on. Finally, three and a half hours after the initial reports were received enough walls and ceilings had been pulled to access the fire and the incident was considered under control. Units were released at 2:00am, with a fresh engine crew being summoned to perform fire watch overnight.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki