Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Vegetation Fire In Gilroy

Photo By John Whitaker
While Fire Associates members were already at a vegetation fire on Highway 17, another fire broke out in the hills west of Gilroy. 
Gilroy dispatchers received a call at 1:17 P.M. on May 27, for a grass fire burning in the area of the Eagle Ridge Golf Course. The first fire units to arrive found a vegetation fire near the 9th Hole of the golf course. The fire was quickly burning through dry grass and heading uphill towards dense brush and live oak forest.
A second alarm was called which brought mutual aid support from Morgan Hill and the South County Fire District. A request was also made for Cal Fire type-3 engines, handcrews, and air support. San Jose was asked to provide station backfill in Gilroy. In addition to fire units, a special call was made for Fire Associates assistance with beverages and meals.
Photo By John Whitaker
As bad luck would have it, FASCV members John Whitaker and John Whiteside were already with  Fire Support Unit 2 at an earlier fire along Highway 17 in the Redwood Estates area. Several other FASCV members in the south Santa Clara Valley area were unable to respond -- with the exception of Bill Roth. As a relatively new FASCV member, Bill had not yet responded to a call with a support unit, but he was quick to reply that he would be taking FSU-3 to the blaze. There's always a first time!
In the meantime, John and John began to break down Rehab at Redwood Estates. With the help of firefighters, FSU-2 was quickly buttoned up and on the road towards Gilroy -- 42 miles away! As it turned out, both FSU-2 and FSU-3 arrived at the intersection of Hwy. 101 and Hwy. 85 at about the same time and together they made there way down Hwy. 101 deep into the south county.
Photo By John Whitaker
Once on scene, on the property of the Eagle Ridge gated community, FSU-3 was instructed to go to the 8th Hole to provided crews with immediate rehab support, while FSU-2 remained at the Command Center located in front of the club house so a food run could be made to a nearby Togo's. In a few minutes, 120 sandwiches, chips, and cookies were ordered up and FSU-2 left the scene to pick up the meals. With an order that big, the small crew at Togo's was challenged. But, they came through in fine fashion and the meals were delivered in 2 batches to Rehab.
Firefighters from all 3 departments on scene were served, as well as crews from Cal Fire. Cold beverages were very popular as the crews had been working the 7-acre fire in steep terrain. As the incident was winding down, all 4 hand crews from Cal Fire came through Rehab to get their meals. Needless to say, there was not much food left on the table once all these tired and hungry firefighters were through!
Rehab was broken down at approximately 7:45 P.M with both Fire Support Units returning to San Jose. It had been a very busy day.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker