Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, May 15, Fire Associates members received a request for help in San Martin. Burning in a rural area, east of the U.S. 101 freeway, the fire was in a two-story house located at 14005 Center Ave. John Whiteside responded in Fire Support Unit 3 from San Jose Station 35. He was met on scene by Mike Chappell and John Whitaker.
First-arriving firefighters found the second floor fully involved with the residents trying to extinguish the flames. The home was a wood-frame structure with wood siding and a first-floor garage and vehicles underneath the second floor. After some difficulty convincing the residents to leave the fire fighting to the professionals, and vacate the building, fire crews set to work attacking the blaze.
The firefighters on scene were a "Who's Who" of south county departments. Although officially a South County Fire District event, the list included: South County E1, E2, E3, WT1 and WT2; CalFire B1611, B1617, P1621 and E1681; Gilroy E61 and B5; Santa Clara County E12 and E13; and San Jose Fire E27, E18, WT18 and WT13. With the fire being in a rural area, there were no hydrants available. The early firefighting efforts were handled with onboard water tanks while a portable, canvas tank was set up and filled via a water shuttle system.
Along with County EMS personnel, Fire Associate members set up a formal rehab area on the shoulder of Center Ave., directly across from the fire. Although not exceptionally cold, many pots of hot coffee and two boxes of donuts were well-appreciated by the variety of personnel on scene.
Fire Support Unit 3 was released from the incident at 4:05 A.M.
- John's photos can be viewed at: San Martin House Fire