Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grass Fires Along Hwy. 237 Prove Challenging for Firefighters

Photo By John Whitaker
On Tuesday afternoon, May 14, John Whiteside was at San Jose Station 35 doing FSU-3 maintenance when a series of vegetation fires erupted along Hwy. 237 at North First Street in San Jose near the Sunnyvale border. With 3 different fire locations, totaling 4 acres, the event became a multi-alarm response for San Jose and Sunnyvale. San Jose sent 5 engines, 2 water tenders and 1 BC; Sunnyvale sent 5 engines and 1 BC.
The 237 Highway and N. First Street had to be shutdown in all directions due to smoke and also to allow fire equipment access along the westbound side to fight the fires. The water tenders and several engines made many water shuttles to the many engine companies who had hose lines deployed. Needless to say, at the height of the rush hour, this caused serious traffic problems. Engines were stationed on all the access ramps at the interchange as well as along the shoulder and slow lane of Hwy. 237.
The highway shutdown caused tremendous traffic jams in the high-tech area of north San Jose which lasted for several hours. There was a huge response by police officials from San Jose, Sunnyvale, and CHP for a massive traffic control effort.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Fire Associates were paged at 1438 hours for a Fire Support Unit response. After a telephone consultation with Jerry Haag and John Whitaker as to which unit would respond, John Whiteside quickly filled FSU-3’s potable water tank that he had just emptied and departed for the fires via Hwy. 101, arriving around 1500. He was joined on scene by FASCV members Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker and Walter Huber (guest).
Rehab was set up next to the Incident Command vehicle and dispensed water, lemonade, Gatorade and Clif bars to firefighters. FSU-3 was released about 1700 and was in quarters at Station 35 by 1815. There were numerous smoke reports the following day, requiring engine responses to the same area.

-- Report submitted by John Whiteside