Thursday, August 2, 2012

Multiple-Alarm Los Gatos Vegetation Fire Spreads into Apartment Parking Lots

Photo By Brian A. Floyd
Shortly before 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 2, Santa Clara County Fire began receiving reports of a grass fire in Los Gatos, between residences on Calle Marguerita and Hwy 85. What started as a brush response was quickly upgraded to a full Brush Alarm, and then a second Brush Alarm. The fire was burning in a strip of vegetation sandwiched between the apartment building parkinglot and the Union Pacific railroad tracks that run under some high-tension power lines alongside Highway 85.
Units on scene were confronted with a medium-intensity grass fire, some burning trees, and then several out-buildings and parked vehicles began burning. At that point, a Full First Alarm Structure Assignment was added to the response to deal with the burning buildings and evacuating the nearby apartment buildings. Additional units were requested from San Jose Fire Department. County Fire also used units from San Jose and Sunnyvale Fire Departments to provide Station coverage.
As this incident was developing, Fire Associates members were en route to their monthly meeting at County Fire's Shannon Fire Station in Los Gatos. Several members responded to the fire instead of the meeting, with Bruce Dembecki fetching Fire Support Unit 2, and being met on scene by John Whiteside, John Whitaker and, as a pleasant surprise, Fire Associates member Jill Levy made a guest appearance.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Cold drinks were the order of the day with water, lemonade and Gatorade being popular with fire crews. Although the threat level was high, the fire was quickly contained and crews were released to return to service in a short amount of time. Fire Support Unit 2 and the FASCV members on scene were released in time to join the Fire Associates meeting underway outdoors behind Shannon Station (County Engine 6, normally stationed at Shannon, was on scene at the fire!).
-- Story submitted by Bruce Dembecki