Monday, June 11, 2012

Two More Fires On A Very Hot Day Keep Fire Crews And FASCV Busy

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At 3:48 P.M., on a very hot June day, Santa Clara County Fire began receiving reports of a house on fire at 16301 Los Gatos Almaden Road, Los Gatos. Arriving units reported the house well ablaze and due to the more than 95 degree weather B/C 3A Chief Smith requested Fire Associates assistance on the Full First. The fire escalated quickly to a second alarm, before the heat started taking a toll on the fire crews. Multiple firefighters experienced heat stress like symptoms and the incident turned into a major EMS activation to care for the first responders.
Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by Bruce Dembecki, Mike Chappell and Fire Associates guest Walter Huber. In what was certainly the busiest Rehab section anyone can remember seeing, Firefighters were cooling down with all the tools in the Fire Associates tool box, including misting fans, large amounts of cold water, lemonade and Gatorade, tents to keep the sun away and more. With ice melting quickly and more misting fans in demand a call went out for a second Fire Support Unit. John Whiteside responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 3 arriving in time with fresh supplies.
The heat took it's toll however, and eventually five firefighters and a police officer were transported to area hospitals for continuing care. With the heat causing havoc on fire crews a third alarm was requested to work the fire, while first and second alarm units were tied up either in Rehab or working the EMS aspect of the incident giving medical care to their fellow fire fighters.
Around 7:00 P.M., a two alarm fire broke out in nearby Campbell, and several units on the fire ground in Los Gatos were cut free to respond to the Campbell incident, including John Whiteside who took Fire Support Unit 3. Meanwhile in Los Gatos meals were obtained by Fire Associates members and brought to the fireground.
• Bruce's photos are at: Los Gatos Fire
• News story at: Los Gatos House Fire
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
After being on scene for almost an hour supporting Fire Support Unit (FSU) #2 in rehab at a 4th alarm house fire in Los Gatos, FSU #3 and John Whiteside were requested by County Fire around 1900 hours to respond to a 2nd alarm at 231 Shelley Avenue, off Bascom Avenue, in Campbell, less than 2 miles away. The fire was in a two-story townhouse complex, with flames and smoke from a corner on the second floor at the street side. County Fire units that had cleared the Los Gatos fire were re-dispatched and quickly arrived on scene.
Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag, and Ron Green assisted John in setting up rehab, followed by Mike Chappell and guest Walter Huber from the Los Gatos fire with extra meals. Don Gilbert in FSU #2 arrived after loading up equipment from the previous call. Gatorade, water, lemonade and CLIF bars were provided. Mike and Ron picked up additional meals for the fire crews. One more firefighter was transported to hospital from this event after receiving a laceration. The fire was contained to one unit, and the Red Cross assisted the 3 displaced occupants. John and FSU #3 got back to quarters in San Jose Station 35 at 2220 hours.
• Photos are at: Campbell Townhouse Fire
-- Reports submitted by John Whiteside and Bruce Dembecki