Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saratoga Fire Escalates into A Second Alarm Incident

Photo By John Whitaker
A word to the wise: When doing your own re-roofing job, don't burn the old shingles in your outdoor fireplace.

This would have been good advice for the residents of a Saratoga house that burned on Wednesday, November 7. Just before 4:00 P.M., Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara County Fire to a blaze at 14391 Quito Rd. First-arriving firefighters reported an active fire on the roof and the incident quickly went to a 2nd alarm. Sparks from the BBQ/incinerator had ignited the roof of the ranch-style home.

Responding for FASCV were John Whitaker and John Whiteside in Fire Support Unit 2. The Support Unit approached the scene from the south after negotiating a long, winding stretch of the narrow, mostly rural roadway lined with some exclusive homes. The FSU was met on scene by members Jerry Haag, George Hoyt and guest, Walter Huber.
Photo By John Whitaker

Firefighters were faced with several obstacles in reaching the fire. The sprawling, 3,800 square-foot residence was located up a narrow driveway and was well off the main street. County Engines 8 and 3 were positioned on the driveway with all other arriving units staged out on the street. This necessitated the arriving Sheriff's officers to completely block off the road to all non-emergency traffic.

Fortunately, a hydrant was located directly opposite the residence and a 5-inch supply line was snaked up the steep driveway to the two engine companies. Even with the efficient efforts of the fire crews on hand, damage was extensive to a majority of the structure's wood shake roof.

Rehab was set up at the base of the driveway on the property of an adjoining neighbor. With the quickly approaching darkness, and fire crews putting out the remaining hot spots, lighting the Rehab area was a first priority. All four of our FSU's scene lights were used, with one of the portable tripod lights used to remotely light a very dark stairway that lead down the hill from the home to the Rehab area.

The second priority was getting some cold water and Gatorade to hot and tired firefighters. This was done with the assistance of County EMS paramedics who helped to ferry the bottles of liquid up the hill. As the effort wound down into overhaul mode, crews were released into Rehab and burritos were provided as a hot meal. Fire Support Unit 2 was released after the last of the crews were fed and was back in quarters at approximately 8:30 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker