Friday, August 7, 2015

Two Fires Along Coyote Creek Keep San Jose Firefighters Busy

Friday, August 7, was a busy day for the San Jose Fire Department. 
At 1:25 P.M. in the afternoon, fire crews responded to a Tier fire burning in vegetation along Coyote Creek. Located near the address of 697 Needles Dr., this area along the west side of the creek is very familiar to firefighters. With the creek bed overgrown with dense vegetation and littered with dead or dying trees, a Tier 2 level fire was declared, mostly as a precaution in case things got out of hand.
Of course, that Tier 2 designation also brought a fire support unit. Don Gilbert went to SJFD Station 6 to get Fire Support Unit 2 while John Whitaker and Mike Garcia headed directly to the incident. But, shortly after John arrived, he made contact with the IC -- who quickly cancelled the FSU's response. Fire crews had made quick work of the blaze and were already in an anticipated short-duration mop-up phase. As luck would have it, Don had also just arrived at the fire with the Support Unit -- and he turned around and headed back to the station.
However, that was not the end to everyone's day. 
Photo By John Whitaker
At 3:59 P.M. the same day, everyone returned to Coyote Creek for another, unrelated, fire. This time, the fire was burning on the east side of the creek along Roberts Ave. -- and, it turned out to be a much larger blaze. Many of the same SJFD fire companies were called to this Tier 2 fire -- along with Fire Support Unit 2. 
John Whitaker responded by bringing FSU-2 and Rehab was set up alongside Med30 in a parking lot along the creek. Cold beverages were in high demand as already-tired firefighters were working their second vegetation fire of the afternoon in 80-degree weather. The blaze was estimated to be approximately 5 acres in size and burned along the creek bed and up the bank into some short grass.
Crews worked hard to control the blaze, but their work was not over. A very large cottonwood tree proved to be a worthy opponent for the firefighters. It was already dying and the 5-ft.-diameter, hollow trunk was burning from the inside out. A professional tree company was called to the scene by San Jose Parks and Recreation personnel and the tree was eventually felled so the interior could be accessed and the fire quenched.
However, that meant that some San Jose Fire and Parks and Rec. crews had to remain on scene for an extensive time -- long past the dinner hour. This required that John leave the fire to go to a nearby Togo's to pick up 16 sandwiches that had been ordered by the IC. Upon his return, the crews made quick work of the meals and more ice cold beverages were consumed.
As the sun was setting, firefighters wrapped up the operation and FSU-2 was returned to quarters shortly after 8:30 P.M.
It had been a long day for everyone!
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker