|Photo Courtesy of the Gilroy Fire Department|
In the city of Gilroy, Cinco de Mayo is often a day of celebration for many of its residents of Mexican heritage. But on this day, several families did not have much reason to celebrate.
At approximately 9:20 A.M., Gilroy Fire received multiple calls of a mobile home on fire in the 500 block of W. 10th St. By the time firefighters arrived, one double-wide unit was fully involved and the fire was beginning to spread to mobile homes on all three exposures. Gilroy Engine 47 took up a position on the "Alpha" side of the fire while Truck 47 responded to an endangered structure on the "Charlie" side of the fireground. Because the fire was rapidly growing, rather than assuming their normal "trucker" activities, the Truck 47 crew immediately began firefighting duties by attacking the fire with their own hand lines and raising the "stick" for a possible aerial assault.
It was not long before a second alarm was called which brought additional fire units from Morgan Hill, South County Fire District, and Cal Fire. It also brought a request for Fire Associates assistance with rehab. As luck would have it, FASCV South County responders Bill Roth and John Whiteside were miles away atop Copernicus Peak preparing the Cal Fire lookout for the upcoming fire season. In addition, FASCV President Bruce Dembecki was unavailable at work, Don Gilbert was unavailable as he recovers from recent surgery, and John Whitaker was attending a San Jose Fire Museum Board meeting. Of these five FASCV members, John Whitaker was the most available, so he volunteered to respond in Fire Support Unit 2.
|Photo By John Whitaker|
Once on scene, John was met by Gilroy Fire Department Chief Alan Anderson. A rehab site was selected and John commenced to set up serving tables, portable benches, assorted Clif bars, and several ice chests stocked with cold Gatorade and water. Fifty sandwiches had already been ordered from Subway and John awaited their arrival. Four boxes of sandwiches and chips soon arrived and they were quickly set upon by hungry and tired firefighters.
John remained on scene staffing rehab until all but the last few fire crews had been released. At approximately 1:30 P.M., FSU-2 was released and John began the 35-minute drive back to San Jose Fire Station 6.
- John's photos can be viewed at: Mobile Home Fire
- A Gilroy Dispatch news article can be read at: Gilroy Fire
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker