Saturday, March 19, turned into one of the busiest afternoons on record for Milpitas Fire. A fire at Walmart on Ranch Drive started the afternoon. Arriving units had a store being evacuated, smoke from the roof, and sprinklers inside flooding merchandise and the store. Walmart staff were trying to get people to evacuate, most had items in their carts they didn’t want to relinquish, not understanding the scope of the emergency.
With smoke and flaming showing above the large building, a second alarm requested, which brought engines, a truck and a Chief from Fremont Fire, while San Jose responded an engine to provide city coverage for Milpitas.
The firefight was complicated by the involvement of a solar installation, which was involved in the fire. Eventually crews got a handle on things and got the fire extinguished, using 2 hand lines from the roof. There was a lot of water inside the building though, adding to the flooding situation. The water from above made the ceiling tiles in the fire area unstable.
With the fire extinguished, it was decided to release the Fremont units, and while there was extensive overhaul required, Milpitas’ 3 engines and two trucks could handle the situation at Walmart.
No sooner was Fremont equipment on their way home than reports of a vehicle on it’s side started coming in, for a location just around the corner from Walmart on McCarthy Blvd. near Dixon Landing Rd. Walmart IC cleared one of it’s Engine companies to respond to the MVA. Meanwhile San Jose’s rig was dispatched to a medical incident elsewhere in Milpitas. The Fremont crews came across the Dixon Landing incident on their way out and began to work the scene. They had a vehicle on its side, smoking, with an occupant trapped inside. After evaluation they requested a Heavy Rescue response to the scene. Walmart IC cleared the Truck/USAR from their scene to assist on the Dixon Landing incident, as well as the engine already en route and the Fremont crews on scene.
The Milpitas duty chief, en route to the Walmart incident, diverted to the rescue. A new call involving a car on it’s side came in on the other side of the city off Montague Expressway. Another rig was cleared from Walmart to investigate the second motor accident. Yet another medical incident came in, with no units left in the city a request was made to San Jose for another rig to assist with the new medical incident.
Sadly, the Dixon Landing incident was a fatality. While an extended recovery operation would still be required, the duty chief was able to clear the Truck/USAR to respond to the second car on it’s side over on Montague Expressway.
Around this time, Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki arrived at the Walmart incident with Fire Support Unit 2. While there was much work still to happen at this site they dropped down to a single truck company when the last remaining Milpitas engine was responded to yet another medical incident. Rehab was briefly provided to the crew remaining on scene, and a supply of water, Gatorade and snacks was left on scene to help the crews who would surely be back later in the afternoon. Walmart IC was concerned about reports of an extended recovery operation at the Dixon Landing incident, and as it was only around the corner asked Fire Support Unit 2 to stop there and assist the crews on scene.
As FSU-2 was departing, the Truck/USAR were returning to Walmart, having been released from the Montague incident, and the Engine on Montague released the second San Jose unit and took their medical incident. Fire Support Unit 2 responded to the Dixon Landing incident and rehabbed crews on scene, before returning to service.
The crews from Milpitas and Fremont were busy, but very grateful for a friendly face and a cold drink in the middle of the craziness at multiple scenes.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki