Friday, November 22, 2013

Morgan Hill House Fire Results in a Multi-Agency Response

Photo By John Whitaker
Travel To Incident Proved To Be Eventful

While most people were in bed at 1:15 A.M. on Friday, Nov. 22,. FASCV members were responding to a house fire south of Morgan Hill. Located at 11205 Monterey Highway, the fire was primarily burning in the attic space of a 1-story structure.  John Whitaker responded to the early morning call for assistance in Fire Support Unit 3, with John Whiteside along as passenger.
While the fire was the primary newsworthy event of this response, the trip down to the South Valley proved to have it's own excitement. As FSU-3 drove along southbound U.S. 101, emergency radio traffic reported a vehicle accident southbound, north of Coyote Hills Drive. That location was approximately 2 miles ahead of the FSU!
As the FSU approached, with yellow lights flashing for safety, it was obvious that there was a vehicle facing the wrong direction, up an embankment, in the median of the freeway. In addition, several other vehicles were stopped on the right-hand shoulder. The FSU was the first emergency unit on scene!
John Whiteside exited the FSU and checked on the status of the occupants in all vehicles. Two vehicles had been involved while the other cars had stopped for help. John statused the incident, and reported back to Dispatch via his hand-held radio that all occupants were out of the vehicles and there were no apparent injuries. By that time, a Rural Metro EMS rig arrived followed shortly by a CHP cruiser. With this incident taken over by other "responsibles", the FSU continued on to the original Morgan Hill blaze.
Photo By John Whitaker
The fire began shortly after midnight in a home that was located not far back from the shoulder of Monterey Highway. Fire crews from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill Fire, Cal Fire, Gilroy Fire, and San Jose Fire were all in attendance -- resulting in a 2-alarm "plus" response level. The extra equipment was made necessary because there was no water supply in the area. A water tender from SSCC Fire and two tenders from San Jose were all put into use shuttling water into a portable tank. Needless to say, Monterey Highway was shutdown southbound as the roadway was full of fire rigs!
All occupants of the home were lucky to escape the nighttime blaze as the fire ran the entire length of the attic space. Once knocked down, firefighters went to work emptying the structure of salvageable clothing and household goods -- which were stacked along the shoulder of the highway. The fire proved to be stubborn as it kept smoldering to life well into the wee hours of the morning.
Rehab was established in the median of Monterey Highway directly in front of the structure. Several dozen donuts, coffee, hot chocolate and some water and Gatorade were provided to fire crews and some victims of the fire. It was a cold night, by California standards, and both FASCV members were glad to have put on their long-johns before leaving home. Hot beverages were greatly appreciated by all in attendance. As sunrise approached, FSU-3 was released from duty and put back into service at approximately 5:30 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker