Thursday, August 20, 2015

Two Blazes Keep Firefighters Busy Along Coyote Creek

Photo By John Whitaker
Temperatures may have cooled off a bit in the San Francisco Bay Area, but that only lessens the fire danger slightly. That fact was illustrated shortly before 4:00 P.M. on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 20, when San Jose Fire dispatchers received word of a vegetation fire burning along Coyote Creek off Remillard Ct. With this area very familiar to firefighters, I didn't take long before a Tier 1 response was requested. But, things got a little more complicated.
When first-arriving fire crews arrived on scene, a second column of smoke was visible to the north of their location. It was quickly determined that there were two fires burning and a second Tier response was initiated. Although dispatched as a second Tier 1 response, the on-scene Battalion Chief asked that the fires be treated as one incident. That meant that there was a Tier 2 compliment of firefighters and equipment on scene. 

FASCV past-president John Whitaker had been listening to the incident since the first dispatch went out on the PulsePoint app. Realizing that two Tier 1 dispatches would not result in an automatic request for Fire Associates' assistance (FASCV is automatic on all Tier 2 fires in San Jose), John contacted SJFD Dispatch by phone and asked if the IC would like a response from the organization, and if so, at which fire location. The reply was "Yes", with rehab to be set up at the northern-most of the two fires at the southern end Woodborogh Dr., near Selma Olinder Park.

After being alerted by a phone call from John, Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by John Whitaker and aided by FASCV guest Ken Needham. As with most vegetation fires, crews were very spread out around the fire ground. So, FSU-2 was instructed to go down a dirt path and set up with crews under the Interstate 280 overpass. Battalion 1 and Battalion 2 chiefs then took a supply of cold water and Gatorade out to the other crews.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker