Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cathedral Fire Challeges San Jose Firefighters

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At 11:40 A.M. on Thursday, August 30, Fire Associates responded to a fire at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The midday blaze challenged San Jose firefighters with their third multiple alarm fire in 36 hours. John Whiteside responded in Fire Support Unit 3 simultaneously with Don Gilbert who was responding in Fire Support Unit 2. With FSU-2 able to respond more quickly, FSU-3 was cancelled en route.
Located at 389 E. Santa Clara St., at its busy intersection with 8th Street, the fire was spotted soon after it started. However, the fire quickly spread up into the open, vaulted rafters of the cathedral's sanctuary. The room reportedly filled with dense, black smoke making the fire difficult to fight.

To complicate matters, as the fire fight was winding down, one of the crew members of Truck 1 suffered cardiac arrest, requiring quick and immediate attention from other firefighters and paramedics on the scene. He was transported by a Rural-Metro EMS Unit to Regional Medical Center. However, those remaining on the scene were visibly shaken by the incident. Many were released from the incident and were replaced on scene by fresh firefighters.
The warm afternoon, with temps in the mid 80s, brought out a large response from the SJFD as well as a larger than usual response from Fire Associates. Responding FASCV members were Don Gilbert (Driver), John Whiteside (Driver), Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker, George Hoyt, Mike Chappell, Ron Green, Rick James, Bob Gundrum and guest, Walter Huber.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker