Saturday, August 1, 2015

Large Home Burns In San Jose's East Foothills

Photo By John Whitaker
On Saturday morning, August 1 at 3:09 A.M., the San Jose Fire Department received a call that a house was burning in the East Foothills of the city. The address given was 3898 Vista Point Ct. But, don't look for it on any maps. It's not there! 
Due to a nearby, under-construction housing development, the residence had recently received a new driveway and a new street address. The house address had been 3811 Quimby Rd. with an access driveway off that road. But, now, access was up Vista Point Ct. -- through the new housing development. For that reason, fire crews had great difficulty initially finding access to the burning house.
Once on scene, firefighters had to lay almost 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply line as the nearest hydrant was at the bottom of the steep street and long driveway. This long lay required relay pumping by the first-arriving engine companies. Because the entire 3rd floor was ablaze and the difficult access, a second and third alarm were eventually called to the scene.
Shortly after the second alarm, the IC special-called for Fire Associates assistance with Rehab. Med30 was on scene, but Barry Ehlers reported that he eventually ran out of all the drinking water and Gatorade he had on his rig. Even though it was the early hours of the morning, firefighters were hot and exhausted because of the shear size of the fire fighting effort. The house was approximately 7,000 sq. ft. in size with many 20-ft. ceilings and was laid out with a myriad of rooms, stairways, and hallways.
Photo By John Whitaker
Bruce Dembecki went to get Fire Support Unit 2 while FASCV member John Whitaker responded to the 4:45 A.M. call by going directly to the scene. Because of the crowded conditions on the property surrounding the residence, John parked his private vehicle at the bottom of the hill and hoofed his way up to the fire. After scouting the area and making contact with SJFD's Med30, a location to park the Support Unit was determined and Bruce was able to set up as soon as he arrived.
However, the parked FSU-2 was still significantly below the actual scene of the fire. This required many trips by John and Bruce back-and-forth to the Rehab location with coolers, cases of Gatorade and water, benches, a serving table, and (oh, I forgot to mention) -- Donuts! With approximately 60 firefighters on scene, Rehab was a popular place. Once the blaze was under control and crews were being released, Rehab was broken down and FASCV members were released at approximately 8:30 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker