Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outside Fire Results In Loss of Gilroy Residence

Photo By Jaime Norton
May 15 was a hot day in south Santa Clara County. Shortly after 1330 hours, Morgan Hill Cal Fire received multiple calls for a vegetation fire with structures involved at 1000 Geri Lane, off of Day Road. This location is in the South Santa Clara County Fire District, southwest of Morgan Hill and just yards outside Gilroy's northern city limit. 
FASCV member John Whiteside was at a luncheon in Santa Clara, monitored the dispatch, and being the only driver available for south county at the time, started driving toward the Fire Support Units in south San Jose in case FASCV would be requested.
A one-half acre grass fire had spread to a small out-building and a large, 2-story, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. home. The structures were on the side of a hill, and long hose lays were required, making relay pumping a necessity. A hydrant on Rancho Hills Drive in Gilroy was the water source. 
The fire dispatch included 15 engines/water tenders, 2 dozers, air attack, plus Copter 106, 2 hand crews, and various overhead support. Engines responded from the fire district, Gilroy, Cal Fire Felton, Monterey, and Santa Clara unit stations. San Jose sent an engine company for station coverage.
At 1451 hours, Fire Associates were paged for a Fire Support Unit to respond to the scene. John responded to San Jose station 35 to drive FSU-3. After loading all the ice he could manage on board the FSU, he departed for the fire, arriving about 1555 hours, after being re-directed southward to set up Rehab on the pavement at the end of Rancho Hills Drive, in Gilroy, near the Sunrise Fire station, and within yards of the fire scene. By this time, the "air show" was over; dozers and hand crews had been released. Later, guest, Ken Needham, arrived to assist. Lemonade, cold drinks, CLIF bars and later, dinner was served to the hot firefighters. 
John left the scene by way of Cal Fire Morgan Hill headquarters to replenish his ice supply, then returned to station 35, arriving at 2110.
--  Report Submitted by John Whiteside