Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Power Lines Complicate 3-Alarm Response for A Structure Fire

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
On Wednesday, September 24, Fire Associates responded to a 3-alarm fire in San Jose. Located at 763 Concord Ave. near the intersection of Southwest Expressway and Fruitdale Ave., the area is a neighborhood of high-density apartment and condo-style housing. A drop line had fallen between a power supply pole and the rear of one of the apartment units.
As 3-alarm fires go, this was not a biggie. As a mater of fact, it probably wasn't much more than a full-first alarm. However, this fire did have potential -- a lot of potential, and thus, the reason for the 3 alarms. 
Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
The supply line was located at the rear of the units and the fire was not only burning in the structure, it was also burning up the pole which had a power transformer attached. The first-arriving Battalion Chief was worried that the entire supply line (which ran the length of the block) could fail and drop onto numerous housing units. As a mater of fact, before firefighters got a handle on the situation, the top of the power pole had almost burned completely through. As of this writing, it was unclear whether a fire on the pole had caused the line to fall, or whether the structure fire had burned through the line.
John Whiteside responded to the call for Rehab assistance and arrived on scene with Fire Support Unit 2. He was met by John Whitaker and, at the request of SJFD's Med30, they quickly set up a minimal Rehab area to provided cold drinks and Clif Bars. FASCV member Dan Wong also arrived on scene to help out. Most of the firefighters' time was spent waiting for PG&E to cut power to the block, and once that was accomplished, went to work with a salvage and overhaul operation. After being on scene for several hours, FASCV was released at 7:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker