Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lumberyard Inferno Results In Large Response

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
It was a sleepy, early Saturday morning on July 14 when the text messagers read: "CAL FIRE – MULTI ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE, MONTERY ROAD & BLANCHARD SOUTH SAN JOSE. THIS IS A LUMBER YARD AND OTHER STRUCTURES INVOLVED." That got everyone wide awake! The report of a lumber fire usually does that.
Don Gilbert responded to the 6:38 A.M. call on July 14 and went to Station 35 to get Fire Support Unit 3. Meanwhile, Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker and Mike Chappell went directly to the scene. Located at 8149 Monterey Rd. in the community of Coyote, the fire was burning at the Padula Lumber Company. Other FASCV members who arrived later were George Hoyt and John Whiteside.
The original call had the fire as a San Jose Fire event. However, the fire scene was approximately 300 yards south of Blanchard Rd. which put the event in South County Fire District's jurisdiction. The net result was, there were fire rigs and batallion chiefs from San Jose, South County and Cal Fire all on scene.
Photo By John Whitaker
Despite a lack of fire hydrants in the area, firefighters did an excellent job confining the blaze to a small shed and some surrounding wood piles. Although not a lumberyard in the conventional sense, with stacks of 2x4s and milled lumber, there was a small sawmill on site along with stacks of small wood logs, wooden crates, and miscellaneous wood furnishings in different stages on construction. The fire definitely had the potential for spreading as a strong breeze was blowing through the narrow valley from the south. A 3,000-gal. canvas water tank was deployed as a water supply, with a South County engine drafting out of that. Actively refilling the tank, or standing by in case needed, were 2 water tenders fron San Jose Fire, 2 water tenders from South County and a water tender from Gilroy Fire.
Fire crews were glad to have pots of hot coffee and donuts available in rehab as the morning was cool and overcast. Cold Gatorade and water were consumed and Clif Bars were also available.
  • A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at:  Lumberyard Fire
  • John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at:  Coyote Lumber Fire
  • Craig Allyn Rose's photos are at:  Monterey Rd. Fire
  • Bruce Dembecki's photos can be seen at:  Lumberyard Inferno