Friday, September 6, 2013

San Jose Pallet Fire Goes To A 4th Alarm and FASCV Responds for Rehab Support


Photo By John Whitaker
At approximately 11:00 P.M. on Friday, September 6, the San Jose Fire Department received reports of a warehouse fire in the vicinity of N King Rd. and Mabury Rd. Arriving units discovered a well-involved industrial warehouse complex at 690 N. King Rd., with fire threatening exposures. A 2nd alarm was quickly struck.
The area between two different warehouses was filled with thousands of empty shipping pallets. Once these pallets ignited, the fire quickly spread to the adjacent warehouse. Incident Commanders went into defensive mode and soon called for a third and then a fourth alarm to battle the raging blaze. This escalation also triggered a Fire Associates call out, and members Bruce Dembecki and Don Gilbert responded to the dispatch to collect Fire Support Unit 2 from San Jose Fire Station 6. FSU-2 was staffed at Station 6 within 35 minutes of the original dispatch, and on scene in less than an hour.

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Fire Support Unit 2 was met on scene by FASCV member John Whitaker and later joined by Dan Wong. Rehab was made more challenging by the size of the two warehouses, the field of pallets burning and the very large fire ground. A Rehab station was established near the Command Post out on N. King Road, and refreshment stations were set up down Dobbins Rd. at Division Bravo, and behind the complex at Division Charlie.
Firefighters took quick care of the warehouse buildings, but the pallet fire burning between the buildings caused some considerable effort to control. Pallets, of course, are a perfect combination of flammable materials and space for air. They burn very well and fire spreads in stacks of pallets extremely quickly. To get at the fire, the thousands of pallets were pulled out and those that were burnt needed be extinguished. This was a hard, physical job involving lots of manpower. A fork lift and a skip loader were used to some extent, but it was mostly manual work pulling apart the piles.
Photo By John Whitaker

Eventually, the fire was put out and hot and tired fire crews were rehydrated and refreshed in Rehab. FSU-2 was released and back at Station 6 at by 4:00 A.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki