Monday, May 25, 2015

3-Alarm Blaze Engulfs Large House and Motor Home In Almaden Valley

Photo By John Whitaker
Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, will be more than memorable for 2 families in San Jose. 
It was around 5:40 P.M. when San Jose fire crews responded to a residence in the southern end of the Almaden Valley. Located high up on a steep ridge top amongst a small development of custom homes, the fire was initially reported as involving a motor home and a large house next door. Upon arriving at 1029 Woodview Place, firefighters found half the 3-car garage of one structure on fire along with the involved motor home.
With a large column of smoke visible to units as they were responding, a full first alarm was called which was quickly followed by a 2nd alarm upon arrival of Battalion 13. 
During the arrival of initial crews, fire burst out of the motor home and temporally engulfed a fire captain and one of his firefighters. The affected firefighters were immediately removed by other fire crews and attended to by EMS personnel. Both were eventually transported to a hospital for evaluation and were released later in the evening after observation.
With some firefighters now having to turn their attention to possibly injured personnel, a third alarm was called for additional fire companies.
Photo By John Whitaker
Meanwhile, crews battling the blaze had to deal with a narrow residential street crowded with fire apparatus and a house that proved to be somewhat of a maze. It was discovered that the fire had spread out of the garage into the upper-floor living areas, but firefighters had a difficult time determining just what rooms were on fire. Because of the building's floor plan, it was not obvious how to access the involved rooms. 
The 3rd alarm response also brought Fire Associates personnel to the scene. John Whitaker brought Fire Support Unit 2 while Bill Roth responded directly to the incident from his home in San Martin. Bill scouted out an area for Rehab and directed John to the location upon arrival. Tables, benches, and drink coolers were set up in a neighbor's driveway. Bruce Dembecki joined the group at that point and coordinated the ordering of meals with the IC. Bruce and Bill left the scene to pick the meals at about the time FASCV member Mike Garcia arrived. 
They were all joined later by John Whiteside, who brought FSU-3 just in case another response happened during this incident. Since all available "south area" FASCV drivers were on scene, it made sense to have the extra Support Unit for a quick response to a seperate fire, if needed.
With approximately 100 firefighters on scene, Rehab was a very busy place when the food arrived. Eighty Togo's sandwiches along with chips were served up to the tired and hungry firefighters. As usual, a lot of water, lemonade, and Gatorade were also provided. After everyone was fed, FSU-2 and FSU-3 were released back into service at approximately 9:45 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker