On February 16, near 5:00 P.M., Gilroy Fire dispatched units to a working structure fire at 7238 Alexander Street, at E. 8th Street. This was the Mission Powder Coating Company, a large 10,000+ sq.ft. building. Crews said the fire was through the roof upon arriving and a 2nd alarm was requested. This brought 6 additional mutual aid engines from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill, and San Jose to assist at the fire and cover vacant stations.
Fire Associates was initially alerted for a possible response by the Cal Fire Morgan Hill Command Center around 5:30 P.M. when the Duty Captain called John Whiteside to inform him (and thus Fire Associates) of the fire situation and that FA might be requested by Gilroy Fire. Several minutes later a formal request was made.
John had earlier made several calls to FA members and realized he would be responding alone. Member Bill Roth, who lives in the area, was already dispatched to the fire as a Gilroy Police Volunteer In Policing (VIP). John went to San Jose Station 6 to drive Fire Support Unit 2 to Gilroy, about 25 miles away.
Upon arrival, John provided hot coffee, donuts, CLIF bars, and set up lighting and portable benches for the tired crews in Rehab. Sandwiches had been brought to the scene and CALFIRE provided cold drinks. John was released at 10:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside