|Photo Provided By Bill Roth|
Friday, October 9, at 6:53 P.M., Gilroy Fire paged Fire Associates to respond to south Gilroy to assist with meals and drinks for firefighters. A large grass fire was burning in the area of Travel Park Circle near the intersection of Monterey Road and Highway 101. The fire started near that location and spread southward along the Union Pacific railroad main-line right of way. The fire burned for more than 1 mile, then jumped the tracks to also burn on the property of the local sewage treatment plant.
The initial dispatch occurred around 5:30 P.M and Morgan Hill Cal Fire headquarters sent equipment, including 11 engines and water tenders from the South Santa Clara County Fire District and Cal Fire, to assist Gilroy units, while fire units from San Jose Fire covered a Gilroy station.
Fire Associates member Bill Roth responded from north of Gilroy in his POV with drinks and Clif bars. John Whiteside was already in Morgan Hill and responded after contacting Don Gilbert to bring Fire Support Unit 3 to the fire. Gilroy Fire provided burritos to the firefighters. While Bill maintained his position near the origin with his supplies, Don and John in FSU-3 were directed to follow Gilroy units onto the sewage plant property, driving on the levees around the grassy basins, which had burned. Drinks and Clif bars were provided.
It was estimated that 30+ acres burned. Rail traffic, including the No. 14 Amtrak Starlight, was halted until the track area was safe for traffic. Several freight trains came through the area, restricted to 10 mph.
At 10:30 P.M., Fire Associates members were released. Don and John were over 30 miles south of San Jose and had a late-night, un-congested drive back home.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside