Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Debris Fire Escalates to 3-Alarm Structure Blaze in East San Jose

Photo By John Whitaker
It's not often that a debris pile fire escalates into a 3-alarm house fire, but that's exactly what happened on April 17 in East San Jose. With a steady, warm wind blowing, sparks or flames from a backyard pile of vegetation climbed up the exterior wall of the 2-story home and into the attic space. Neighbors spotted smoke from the fire and called the San Jose Fire Department to the home located at 2169 Ruby Ave.
The first-arriving fire units immediately went into attack mode while later-arriving firefighters protected the homes to the south of the blaze. The first BC on scene reported that he found the flames "blowing horizontally out of the upper-floor windows like a blowtorch." The house nextdoor to the involved structure had a metal roof and there was serious concern that burning embers could be blown underneath the roof and ignite the wood rafters. The involved homes' lone occupant was asleep at the time the fire started and was awakened by neighbors pounding on the door. He was able to escape the building with no apparent injury.
Photo By John Whitaker
When a third alarm was called for the blaze, Fire Associates was paged and John Whiteside arrived in Fire Support Unit 3. He was met on scene by FASCV members John Whitaker, Dan Wong, George Hoyt and Walter Huber (guest). A formal rehab area was set up in an adjoining driveway and firefighters cooled down with lots of ice cold water, Gatorade and Lemonade.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker