Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 Year-end Response Totals

2007 Year-end Response Totals are now available on line. Thanks to FASCV member Bob Gundrum for preparing the information. Click on the following links for the data:

January 2008 Meeting Reminder

Attendees are advised to bring folding chairs as we will have to hold our meeting on the apparatus floor.

Click on this link for the meeting location and further details:

January Monthly Meeting

"The Embers" - January 2008

The January 2008 edition of "The Embers" is now available on line.

Friday, December 14, 2007

MacDonnell Services Held

Memorial Services for Chief John F. MacDonnell were held at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, Dec. 14 at St. Victor's Catholic Church in San Jose. In attendance for FASCV were: John Whiteside, John Whitaker, Bob Gundrum, Jerry Haag and Paula Holcomb. Speaking on behalf of the gathered fire service community was Chief Steve Kelly, of Moffett Field Fire Department.

The memorial pamphlet for the service can be viewed at this link: John F. MacDonnell.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

John MacDonnell Memorial Announcement

The following is a compilation of two e-mails received by Fire Associates detailing plans for Chief MacDonnell's memorial service:

Chief John MacDonnell passed away during the overnight hours of December 6, 2007 at his home. Chief MacDonnell will be remembered for his 43 years of professional devotion to the Fire Service. John, began his career in the summer of 1964 with the California Division of Forestry, (then) later served with the Orange County and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments.

He then moved from pubic service into private industrial fire protection, and later served as Fire Chief for both United Technology Corporation and the NASA Ames Fire Department at Moffett Field. John was also an instructor for First Contact 9-1-1 and helped with the development of their dispatcher training program.

A memorial will be held in Chief MacDonnell’s honor at 10:00 A.M., Friday December 14, 2007 at St. Victors Catholic Church located at 3150 Sierra Road, San Jose, CA 95132.

Lynne Engelbert
Steven Kelly
Fire Chief, NAFD

John's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made in memory of John MacDonnell to the Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley, Inc.

Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley, Inc.
455 S. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

For those of you who may not be familiar with the important support function that the "Fire Associates" regularly provides to all Santa Clara Operational Area fire agencies, here's some cogent information about them.

The Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley, Inc. is a volunteer, fire buff organization that since 1969 has staffed and maintained multiple fire support canteen vehicles which respond to multiple-alarm fires and other emergency incidents at all hours of the day and night (and in all types of weather!) - as well as to major drills and exercises - throughout the Santa Clara Operational Area supplying hot and cold beverages and related rehab supplies to firefighters and emergency responders.

Over the years (actually, several decades!), the "Fire Associates" unfailing and enthusiastically provided canteen services at the annual Santa Clara County "Wildfire" wildland fire readiness exercise. For many years, this exercise was delivered at and hosted by United Technologies Corporation' s site south of San Jose, where, as you know, John served as Fire Chief for many years as well as a guiding force within the Santa Clara County Fire Chief's Association in the exercise's sustainability and growth - which, in later years, included considerable participation by San Mateo and Santa Cruz Operational Area fire agencies.

Thus, there is both this professional and personal nexus between John and the "Fire Associates."

Please contact me directly at if you have any questions:

Herb Jewell, CFPS
Deputy Fire Marshal
NASA/Ames Fire & Emergency Services Branch
NASA/Ames Research Center
M/S 158-1; 158 Carroll Drive/Room #202;
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

Monday, December 10, 2007

January, 2008 Meeting Site Announced

The monthly meeting of Fire Associates for January, 2008 will be held at Milpitas Fire Department's Station No. 3. Located at 45 Midwick Drive, Milpitas, 95035, the station is basically sits on the corner of N. Milpitas Blvd. and Midwick.

Highlight of the evening will be a walk-around of Patrol 3. Although not brand new, this rig is less than one year old and probably has not been seen by many of our members. Attendees are advised to bring folding chairs as we will have to hold our meeting on the apparatus floor.

-- Thanks to Milpitas Fire's Battalion Chief Scott Brown for making these arrangements.

Chief John MacDonnell -- 1946-2007

Former UTC Fire Chief Passed Away On Dec. 6.

Former United Technology Corporation (UTC) Fire Chief John MacDonnell has passed away at the age of 61. Over his career, he was a good friend of Fire Associates. Many of our members will remember coordinating FASCV support at the Live Wildland Fire Training that John arranged annually at UTC. He will be missed by all those involved in the fire service of Santa Clara County.

Additional remembrances by those who knew him can be found at this link:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December 5, 2007 - 2nd-Alarm Milpitas Response

On Wednesday morning, December 5, FASCV was paged by the Milpitas Fire Department. The 7:15 A.M. page was for a 2-alarm mobile home fire at the Mobilodge of Milpitas, 1515 N. Milpitas Blvd. Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit 1 and was met by John Whitaker.

Located in space 134, the older-style, small doublewide unit was a total loss. Fortunately, the owners were awakened by the barking of their dog as no smoke detector was installed. The fire was burning in the curtains of the front room as the couple escaped with few belongings. The heroic dog was lost in the fire. FASCV was released at approximately 9:30 A.M.

John's photos of the event can be seen at this link: MIL - Mobilodge.
Be sure to check out a mention of our Support Unit in this "Milpitas Post" news report: "Mobile Home Loss...".

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December 4, 2007 - 2nd-Alarm Los Gatos Response

Early Tuesday morning, December 4, Santa Clara County Fire paged FASCV to 16035 Los Gatos-Almaden Rd. in Los Gatos. Don Gilbert answered the 1:58 A.M. request in Support Unit 2 and was met by George Hoyt and John Whitaker. The fire involved a house that had been converted into the "Peppertree School of Los Gatos" -- a daycare and preschool facility.

FASCV rehab operations were set up adjacent to County Hazmat 2 and were conducted in a routine fashion -- until the rain arrived! The easy-up shelter was quickly deployed and served to keep the firefighters, coffee and donuts dry in the inclement weather. FASCV was released at approximately 5:00 A.M.

John Whitaker's photos can be seen at this link: CNT - Peppertree School.
The San Jose Mercury News story can be read at: SJ Merc-News.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 1, 2007 - 3rd-alarm Gilroy Response

On Saturday morning, December 1, the Gilroy Fire Department requested FASCV's help at a 3-alarm fire at a cardboard box factory on the city's south side. John Whiteside and Don Gilbert responded to the 3:51 A.M. page in Support Unit 2. They were met by FASCV members John Whitaker and Mike Chappell. The fire was located at 6791 Alexander Street, Gilroy.

The fire was burning in 20-foot-high stacks of rolled, brown, craft paper. The stacks and stacks of paper were used in the manufacturing of corrugated cardboard shipping boxes. Approximately 300 rolls of paper burned through the morning hours and into the afternoon. Because of the densely pack material, fire crews had to keep the paper doused with water as forklifts busily unstacked the rolls. Every time a roll was moved, or water stopped flowing, flames would erupt. Fortunately, fire crews were able to used the company's break room has a rehab area as the morning temperatures dipped before the 40-degree mark just before sunrise.

Upon arrival, FASCV members provided donuts and coffee and then delivered and served 45 breakfast meals from a local restaurant. The Support Unit was released shortly before noon.

The fire was just one of 3 suspicious fires the erupted in Gilroy during the early morning hours. Flames also were doused at a local Ford dealership and a new, city sports complex. All fires were being investigated as possible arson.

John Whitaker's photos can be seen at this link: Gilroy Fire. The San Jose Mercury-News story can be read at: "Three Fires Battled".

November 27, 2007 - 4-alarm San Jose Response

On November 27, at 11:45 P.M., FASCV was paged by the San Jose Fire Department to a 4-alarm fire. The fire involved a large, single-story, Victorian structure located at 580 N. 5th Street, in the Japantown district of the city. John Whiteside brought Support Unit 2 and was met my John Whitaker and George Hoyt, who were already on scene.

First-arriving fire crews had to rescue three occupants of the 100-year-old structure. Eight others escaped unharmed. Unfortunately, the fire resulted in the death of another resident of the boarding house whose body was not found until hours after the fire had been controlled.

John Whitaker's photos of the event can be viewed at this link: SJS 4-Alarm Fire. News stories and video can be viewed at: NBC11 Video and SJ Mercury-News.

John Whiteside was on scene until 5:00 A.M, when he was released by the IC.

However, a little over 3 hours later, Support Unit 2 was back at the fire in respose to a special request. Truck crews had to remain on scene throughout the morning as Arson, Homicide and Coroner's Department personnel sifted through the buildings rubble. John Whitaker responded to the 8:30 A.M. call and was joined later in the morning by FASCV members Ed Del Prete and Rick James. FASCV provided the usual morning donuts, coffee and water an later served 45 sandwiches, chips, drinks and cookies.

Support Unit 2 was finally released at 1:30 P.M.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"The Embers" - December 2007

The December issue of "The Embers" is now available on line.

December Meeting Will Be A Party! -- With Special Guest

Once again, our December 6th monthly meeting will be a Christmas holiday gathering. The party will be held at the historic Santa Clara CalTrain Freight Depot, 1005 Railroad Ave., Santa Clara. This is the home of "The South Bay Historical Railroad Society" and their model railroad layouts will be up-and-running during the evening. Ice cream and cake will be served. Meeting time will be 7:30 PM and family and guests are invited.

Special guest for the evening will be retired San Jose Deputy Fire Chief John McMillan. Chief McMillan is currently the president of the San Jose Fire Museum and we have asked him to come and give us a short presentation on the group's activities as well as the status of negotiations with the City of San Jose to obtain the old fire Station Number 1 building.

If you would like to join the group for dinner, call Paula Holcomb. Some members are meeting at La Paloma Restaurante, 2280 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, at 5:45 P.M.

Please come and enjoy the evening!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 10, 2007 - 2nd-alarm Santa Clara Response

On Saturday night, November 10, at approximately 23:46, FASCV was requested for a 2nd-alarm fire at 2490 Martin Ave. in the city of Santa Clara. Len Williams and Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit #1.

Len has submitted the following report:

It was in a
carpet sales place on Lafayette, near Martin, with, as you easily
can imagine, an incredible fire load.

Briefly, SCFD made a great stop and saved about 90% of the bldg. and the
inventory. However, now that I think about it, a lot of inventory probably
has little retail value left because of smoke damage.

It rained the entire time, although it was a low-volume steady rain, as
opposed to a gully-washer.

I was back home, and in bed, by around 2:00 a.m.

Friday, October 19, 2007

November Meeting Site Announced

The FASCV monthly meeting for November will be held at the San Jose Fire Department's new Station 33. This is San Jose's new station location at the top of Communications Hill. Captain Brad McGibben of "B" Shift will be our host.

A feature of the evening will be a tour of the new quarters and, if so desired, a walk-around of Engine 33. This is one of San Jose's newest engines. Previously, our visit to SJFD Station 16 also included a walk-around of their new engine (a twin to Eng. 33), but some members were not in attendance. Should be an interesting evening.

As a reminder,
Captain McGibben points out that there is not much parking atop "The Hill". There is limited space behind the station, and failing that, we are on our own to try to find street parking. It is strongly advised by Captain McGibben that individual members try to coordinate some carpooling options.

The station is located at 2933 St. Florian Drive, San Jose, CA and the meeting will begin at 7:30 PM, on Thursday, November 1st.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

September 30, 2007 - San Jose Grass Fire

On Sunday, September 30, at 15:58, FASCV responded as part of a combined San Jose Fire/Cal Fire Task Force to a Tier 2 grass fire in the city's eastern foothills. Your "Blog Master", John Whitaker, responded to Station 26 from the scene of the earlier industrial fire in Santa Clara. Taking Support Unit #2, John was met in staging by FASCV members Herman DeKruyff and George Hoyt - both of whom responded from the earlier fire. Mike Chappell also arrived on the scene at the intersection of Aborn Road and Murillo Avenue. The fire was burning in the hills between Murillo Ave. and Lazy Lane.

Firefighters made an amazing stop on the advancing flames, as several homes were directly in the fire's path. Thanks to a lot of hard effort, all were saved. Support Unit #2 was requested by the IC to meet up with San Jose's Med30, take all on of his Gatorade supply, an then go up and down a very steep and narrow Aborn Road "hitting targets of opportunity." As usual, grateful firefighters expressed their appreciation that FASCV was on the scene. Support Unit #2 was released from the fire at 19:00.

News accounts of the fire can be found at this link:
John Whitaker's photos can be seen at: SJS - Aborn Rd. Fire

-- Information provided by John Whitaker

September 30, 2007 - 4-alarm Response in Santa Clara

On Sunday, September 30, at 12:47, FASCV was requested by Santa Clara City Fire to a fire at 735 Reed Street, near Lafayette, in the City of Santa Clara. Bob Gundrum responded in Support Unit #1. It was not difficult for responders to find their way to the inferno. A dark black smoke column could be seen from throughout the Valley. A list of the FASCV responders to the fire would read like a "Who's Who" of the organization's membership. No fewer than 9 members were on scene!

Support Unit #1 was a key component of the rehab location. The fire sent off acrid smoke and strong fumes that were caused by some electronic recycling components that caught fire in a lot just outside the ESC company warehouse and an adjoining auto wrecking yard. Because of the fumes, rehab was full of tired firefighters who had been wearing full breathing apparatus.

For a news story of the event, click on this link: NBC11 News
Photos from John Whitaker and Bob Gundrum can be found here: SNC - Industrial Fire

-- Information provided by your "Blog Master", John Whitaker

Monday, September 24, 2007

September 20, 2007 - 2nd-alarm Morgan Hill Response

At 1:26 P.M. on Thursday, September 20, South County Fire asked for FASCV support at a 2-alarm greenhouse fire at 715 Fisher Ave. in Morgan Hill. Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit #2 with the help of Mike Chappell and John Whitaker. The fire was apparently started by a downed power line that ignited grasses that were growing under the abandoned structures. As usual, our lemonade was greatly appreciated by the combined firefighting forces from South County and Cal Fire. FASCV was released from the scene at approximately 3:00 P.M.

A news story describing the fire can be found at this link: John Whitaker's photos are posted at: SCC-Morgan Hill Greenhouses

-- Information provided by FASCV Blogmaster, John Whitaker

Monday, September 10, 2007

October Meeting Site Announced

We will meet at 7:30 PM on October 4, 2007 at the San Jose Fire Department's Training Center, 255 S. Montgomery St., San Jose, CA 95110.

The program will feature a talk by a fire weather prediction specialist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is the government agency that provides fire weather forecasting and on-site fire weather prediction for Cal Fire.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 19, 2007 -- 2-alarm Milpitas Response

At 12:09 P.M. on Sunday, August 19, FASCV was dispatched to a 2-alarm house fire on the north end of Milpitas Fire's district. The fire was located at 1502 Michael Court - near the intersection of Michael Street and Evans Road. Bob Gundrum and Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit 1. Arriving later on scene was your FASCV "Blog Master", John Whitaker.

Unlike most house fires FASCV responds to, this fire gutted the main portion of the house, sparing the garage. Most house-fire responses seem to gut the garage, with firefighters working to save the house! This house was undergoing extensive remodeling, but the cause of the fire was unclear.

A news story descrbing the fire can be found at this link: The Milpitas Post. John's photos of the fire can be found here: MLP - House Fire.

-- The Blogmaster's busy schedule caused this late report...Sorry!

"The Embers" Newsletter - September 2007

The September, 2007 edition of "The Embers" is now available on line.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

August 26, 2007 -- San Jose 4-alarm Warehouse Response

On Sunday, 26 August, at approximately 1:00 AM,
Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit #2 to a four-alarm fire at 1060 N. Fifth St., near San Jose's Japantown. Waiting for him at the fire scene was John Whitaker who assisted in setting up the rehab area in a nearby parking lot. The fire consumed a business called "So-Lite" - a manufacturer of lightweight roof tile. Clicking on the photo above will play John's low-resolution video of the fire scene.

The fire was declared under control at 3:40 A.M. and Don and John returned home at approximately 4:30 A.M. John's photos can be viewed at this link: SJS - Warehouse Fire. More detailed news about the incident can be read at this link to the San Jose Mercury News.

-- Information provided by John Whitaker and the San Jose Mercury News

Dinner Plans for September Meeting

Bob Gundrum has announced that plans to meet for dinner prior to our September 6th montly meeting are as follows: Shanghai Restaurant, 253 E. Maude Ave. (TB: 812,F-6) - between Sunnyvale & Bayview Aves., at 6:00 P.M.

Click on this link for details on the September Meeting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 14, 2007 -- San Jose Level III High-rise Response

On Tuesday, 14 August, at approximately 12:17 PM, there was a request by San Jose Fire for Fire Associates service at a "Level II High-rise" incident at 60 N. Third St. in downtown San Jose. Your "Blog Master" (John Whitaker) responded in Support Unit #2 and was met by FASCV member, Mike Chappell. Before the afternoon was over, the incident had been raised to a Level III High-rise, and John and Mike had dispensed 150 burritos, 5 gallons of lemonade and several cases of water to the numerous crews who were on scene.

Engine 8 was the first to arrive. They were driving down Santa Clara Street, in front of San Jose City Hall, when passers-by alerted them to the smoke and flames one block away. The Engine 8 crew made the original radio notification. For those FASCV members who regularly listen to the fire radio scanners, this was not the usual “60 N. Third St.” radio dispatch: “Smoke alarm…Town Park Towers…First-due only.”

The Engine 8 crew initially found the fire roaring on the balcony of a 10th-floor unit with the fire spreading rapidly into the apartment. Although later-arriving crews were hampered by an elevator system that was put out of commission by the incident, fire damage was contained to the original apartment. However, the IC was faced with a logistical challenge as water damage from overhead sprinklers was extensive. Because of water and power issues, fire officials eventually evacuated the building after many of the residents were initially told to shelter-in-place. The 10-story building, known as Town Park Towers, houses low-income seniors.

The fire was contained about 30 minutes after firefighters arrived on scene and FASCV was released from service at approximately 5:00 PM.

Check out John's photos at: SJS - Town Park Towers.

NBC 11's news story can be found at:

Monday, August 13, 2007

September Meeting Site Announced

On Thursday, September 6, at 7:30 P.M. our monthly meeting will be held at Sunnyvale
Department of Public Safety's
Station #2. The station is located at 795 Arques Ave. at
Wolfe Rd. (TB 812; G-7). Parking will be along the fence area on the Mtn. View or
Hwy. 101 sides of the
drill ground. The program will feature Sunnyvale's new Rescue 2.

Thanks to Bob Gundrum for arranging this meeting.

Monday, August 6, 2007

August 3, 2007 -- Voluntary Sunnyvale Response

At approximately 19:20 Friday evening, Bob Gundrum and Paula Holcomb voluntarily responded
to a fire at 550 East Remington (cross street of Azura) in Sunnyvale. Bob has provided
the following report:

"The Sunnyvale incident was a fire at the Sunnyvale Community Center - Ceramic Arts
Building. The kiln was in operation and caused a fire between the roof & false roof.
The exterior roof was made of steel and there were no sprinklers in the void, and the
outer roof was beginning to sag from heat damage and the crews were pulled off the
roof and sent inside to assist in pulling the ceiling. During this time SNY was very
busy with other incidents and requested mutual aid cover from both MTV & SNC.

Paula & I had responded to SNC Station 9 to await the 2nd alarm. When there had been
no 2nd alarm requested and dispatch advised that they were 40 minutes into the event,
we contacted SNY dispatch offering a voluntary response (the time of the alarm would
have interrupted the dinner of the personnel on the scene). Upon arrival we
immediately offered Gatorade & Cliff Bars (we dispensed 1 ½ boxes), which were inhaled
by those in rehab. Jerry Haag also responded and we were released within 45 minutes
of responding.

Of interest is that the IC - Capt. Carrion, fought a fire under the same
circumstances about 10 years ago, at the same location, while assigned to Eng. 4."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dinner Time Change

Reservations have been made for 6:15 PM tonight at the Macaroni Grill, located on a parking lot pad on the Quimby Rd. side of the Eastridge Mall. This is the earliest time that was available, tonight. The restaurant assures us that this will be plenty of time to make our 7:30 PM meeting at SJFD Station 16, located close-by at 2001 S. King Road, 95122.

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30, 2007 -- Milpitas 2-Alarm Response

Shortly after 07:15, while returning from the scene of Santa Clara City Fire Department's 3-alarm fire, FASCV received a page for a second response -- a 2-alarm Hazmat incident in Milpitas at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Montague Expressway. All four FASCV responders to Santa Clara's incident immediately changed plans and responded with Support Unit 1 to Milpitas Fire Department's event.

A truck driver reported smelling a noxious odor coming from his vehicle and Milpitas and Santa Clara County Hazmat teams responded to determine the level of danger. Eventually, crews were unable to determine the cause of the odor and FASCV was released from this second incident of the morning at approximately 09:00.

John's photos from this event can be found at the following link: Milpitas Hazmat.

KRON TV's news story of the event can be read at:
"Roads in Milpitas Re-Open After Hazardous Gas Leak Scare"

-- Information provided by FASCV member John Whitaker and KRON TV

July 30, 2007 -- Santa Clara 3-Alarm Response

At 04:34 Monday morning, FASCV responded to a 2-alarm fire at 3475 El Camino Real. The fire was located in the China Way restaurant located near the intersection of El Camino Real and Flora Vista. Bob Gundrum brought Support Unit 1 to the Santa Clara Fire Department event. Also on scene for FASCV were John Whitaker, Jerry Haag and Ron Green.

Equipment from Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County responded to the fire which eventually went to 3 alarms. Of immediate concern to firefighters was an
Econo Lodge motel next to the restaurant and an adjacent trailer hitch business.

John's photos from this fire can be found at this link: Santa Clara Restaurant Fire.

NBC11's news story can be viewed at this link:
"Fire Burns South Bay Restaurant"

-- Information for this story provided by John Whitaker and NBC11

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

August Meeting Site Announced

On Thursday, August 2, at 7:30 P.M. our monthly meeting will be held at San Jose Fire Department's Station 16. The station is located on the southwest corner of South King Rd. and Cunningham Ave. at 2001 South King Road, San Jose 95122. Our host will be A-shift Captain Jim Blean.

Highlight of our meeting will be a walk-around of the new Engine 16. This is one of San Jose's newest acquisitions. Built by Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc.
on a Spartan Gladiator Classic chassis, these rigs feature 430HP of Caterpillar power with a Hale QTWO, double stage, 1,500GPM pump.

Note: Since this is one of San Jose's older stations, there is no community room available for our meeting. So, remember to bring some folding chairs as we will be sitting in the equipment bay.

For those interested, we will meet at 5:45 PM for dinner at the new Macaroni Grill, located on a parking lot pad at the newly updated Eastridge shopping mall. The restaurant is located at
2226 Eastridge Loop, San Jose 95122-1465.
See you there!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19, 2007 -- San Jose 4-Alarm Response

At 04:32, while on the scene of an early morning fire in Campbell, FASCV received a page for second fire -- this time a 4-alarmer in downtown San Jose. The fire was located at the intersection of Fourth Street and East St. John -- just a block from San Jose's new City Hall. Don and John were released by the Santa Clara County Fire incident commander and responded in Support Unit 2 to the San Jose Fire Department's event.

First-due Engine 8 arrived on the scene to find fire rolling up the exterior of the building and leaping 20 feet above the roof! A real bonfire! The fully-involved structure was a Victorian home known as the Houghton Donner House. Built in 1881, the house was placed on the historic register in 2002. The building gets its name because it was once the home of one of the survivors of the Donner party.

Don and John helped serve numerous pots of coffee, 4 dozen donuts and a box-and-a-half of Power Bars, as well as place traffic cones and direct traffic -- as many morning commuters seemed oblivious to a 5-inch supply hose as they drove over it in an attempt to park in a near-by parking garage. SJPD eventually took over the task. FASCV was released at 0935. It was a long morning.

John Whitaker's photos from this fire can be seen at: SJFD - Victorian.

News video of the fire can bee seen at: NBC11 News. Further details about the fire can be read at this link in The San Jose Mercury News.

-- This information provided by "The Blogmaster"

July 19, 2007 -- Campbell Response

At 02:25 on Thursday, Don Gilbert, in Support Unit 2, and John Whitaker responded at the request of Santa Clara County Fire to 2120 South Winchester Ave. in Campbell. Located on the corner of S. Winchester and West Rincon Ave., the fire involved a Firestone Tire Co. store. The smokey fire was difficult to access because of three, roll-up, steel service bay doors. County firefighters cut through the doors with a power saw and found the interior filled with smoke. Other than an oily smoke coating all the interior, major damage seemed to be confined to two vehicles in one of the service bays.

Photos of this fire can be found at this link: SCCFD - July 19, 2007

While on scene, FASCV received a page for second fire -- this time in downtown San Jose. Since the Campbell fire activity was dying down, Don and John "demobed" and responded to San Jose. See the blog post entitled "July 19, 2007 -- San Jose 4-Alarm Response" for details.

-- This information provided by "The Blogmaster"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dinner Before July Monthly Meeting

Just in from Ed Del Prete -- Dinner before tomorrow night's FASCV monthly meeting will be
Holders Country Inn on DeAnza Blvd. (s/o Bollinger and across form Home Depot) at
17:30 hrs.
Remember, our meeting will be at Santa Clara County Fire's "Seven Springs"
station, located at 21000 Seven Springs Prkwy., in Cupertino, 95014.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"The Embers" Newsletter - July 2007

The July 2007 edition of "The Embers" is now available on line.

July Meeting Site Announced

At the request of several members, we will be visiting a Santa Clara County Fire station for our July meeting.

On Thursday, July 5, at 7:30 P.M. our monthly meeting will be at the County's "Seven Springs" station, located at 21000 Seven Springs Prkwy, Cupertino, CA, 95014. This station is the home station for "Hazmat 2" and "Breathing Support 2." Our host will be Capt. Shawn Stevenson.

See you there!

-- Thanks to John Whiteside for following through with the arrangements for this mtg. while "the Blogmaster" was on vacation

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cal Fire Lookout Opens

FASCV members have been closely involved with a recently opened Cal Fire lookout. Officials predict a busy fire season for the Bay Area. With the recent high temperatures, we're facing increased fire danger in the Bay Area. There are worries this summer could be a bad fire season. So, California fire officials have re-opened a fire lookout near Mount Hamilton that has been closed for 17 years.

FASCV member Mike Chappell has sent this link from Their news crew was on scene to cover the opening. Be sure to watch the video which is included on the same page with the news story. It includes shots of Cal Fire personnel and volunteers -- like Mike Chappell, maybe.

June 11, 2007 -- Mtn. View Response

At approximately 2215 hrs. on June 11, Mountain View Fire dispatched equipment to 91 Church Street for a reported "fully engulfed" apartment fire – with many phone calls received. Bob Gundrum and Len Williams responded for FASCV in Support Unit 1.

Mountain View PD was first to arrive, eventually indicating it was fully involved and they were attempting to extinguish. Shortly thereafter, MTV E-2 arrived to report fire showing at the rear of a 1-story apartment complex.

The fire was in the middle of the complex and had easy access for fire crews. E2 extended a 1 3/4" line, followed by a 2 1/2" line. Due to exposure concerns, the IC requested one additional engine -- eventually going to a full 2nd alarm. 2nd-alarm apparatus included NASA Ames Fire Dept. (MOF) T-6 and a Palo Alto Fire BC to the scene along with Santa Clara County (CNT) E-1 to cover MTV Station #1.

The resident of the involved apartment was treated for burns to her hands and transported to a hospital. There was another female in the area with a reported leg injury. She was treated, but initially it was unknown how she was related to the fire incident, if at all.

Observing the unit of origin from the outside, it appeared that the fire was primarily a kitchen fire that spread to the front room. Smoke was also a problem for many neighboring units.

-- Thanks to FASCV responder Bob Gundrum for this information

Saturday, June 9, 2007

June 06, 2007 -- Palo Alto Response

On Wednesday (June 6 @ 13:30), Palo Alto Fire was dispatched to a structure fire at 3856 Corina
. Upon arrival, they reported heavy smoke from the "A" side (front) of the residence.
Neighbors reported there was a handicapped female inside and perhaps her husband. Search
operations were immediately begun with tragic results -- the body of the 80 YOA female
resident was found (Saturday's San Jose Mercury-News reported smoke inhalation). The
husband was not home and arrived after the fire was extinguished. The fire caused a high
voltage power line to drop, thereby increasing the area hazards. Mountain View Fire's Engine 3
was part of the
1st alarm and had the rear exposure from the street behind the structure.

Upon hearing the IC ask if a 2nd alarm was needed (not needed), and knowledge that there
was a fatality, Bob Gundrum made a voluntary response in Support Unit 1. He arrived
between 14:15 and 14:30 and was not released until 17:30.

-- Thanks to FASCV member Bob Gundrum for this information

Sunday, June 3, 2007

June 01, 2007 -- SJFD Tier-3 Response

Friday (June 01, 2007 @ 13:15) FASCV was paged to a Tier-3 grass fire in the Eastern foothills. The fire began at 2222 Terra Nova Lane, near the intersection of Nieman Blvd. and Yerba Buea Road in San Jose's Evergreen District.

John Whitaker responded in Support Unit 2, after first driving through the fire on the way to Station 26 to get the support unit. John was at home, near the fire scene, when the page went out and, as he drove over Yerba Buena Road on the way to the Hwy. 101 freeway, the fire crested the top of the hill along the shoulder of the roadway. Traffic stopped because of poor visibility just as Engine 21 arrived on the scene and requested police help to close the road. As traffic cleared, John made his way out of the smoke and returned with the support unit to the command post at the south end of Cadwallader Rd.

For complete information on this fire, go to this link in the San Jose Mercury-News. John's photos from the fire can bee seen at this link: Evergreen Tier-3

-- Thanks to the Blogmaster, John Whitaker, for this information

Saturday, June 2, 2007

May 31st Joint Meeting A Success

On May 31st, the Peninsula Fire Buffs hosted a joint meeting with Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley and the San Francisco Phoenix Society. FASCV had 11 members in attendance at South San Francisco Fire Department's Station 61 training facility.

As members arrived, they were treated to an equipment display that included RHB1, the Peninsula Fire Buffs' new response vehicle; all SSFFD Station 61 equipment; SSFFD's medic units; and their new Battalion-17 response vehicle.

The evening was hosted by Deputy Chief Dick Dennen who welcomed all the attendees to the buffet dinner and tour of the new station and training facility. The station is a remodeled Black Mountain Water distribution facility, which lended itself to the open equipment bays and dorm/office layout that the fire department required. The training tower is a state-of-the-art, 7-story, steel-constructed facility. Deputy Chief Dennen personally led tours of the tower, explaining in detail how training personnel now have the ability to control both the interior fire environment as well as rearrange the interior floorplans.

The evening was capped off with a "live fire" demonstration. The crew from SSFFD Engine 61 demonstrated their ability to put out a gas fire while protecting the exposure of a propane tank. Arriving on the scene "Code 3", the engine crew quickly went to work and put on a very impressive demonstration of their skill.

All the members of FASCV would like to thank the members of the Peninsula Fire Buffs, and their president Bob Romanoff, for the invitation. It was an exciting evening.

Photos of the event can be seen at this link: FASCV Joint Meeting

May 21, 2007 -- SCCFD 2nd-alarm Response

On Wednesday (May 30,2007 @ 05:07), Len Williams attempted to respond in Support Unit 1 to a 2nd-alarm structure fire at South Stelling Road and Lilac Way. Unfortunately, our response was "10-7" due to a dead battery. The problem was isolated to the interior dome lights being accidentally left on after the last use. Don Gilbert believes that the batteries should be on a trickle-charger anyway, so we'll soon be working on that solution.

John Whitaker, however, did respond and reports that the fire was quickly knocked down and the need for an FASCV response was minimal. More detailed information about the fire can be found at this link to The San Jose Mercury-News.

In the meantime, photos of the event are available for viewing at this link:
Stelling Road 2nd-alarm Fire

-- Thanks to "The Blogmaster" John Whitaker for this information

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Don Gilbert Health Update -- May 27, 2007

On Wednesday, May 23, John Whiteside reported that, "Don had a procedure to extract a gall stone from his ducts done today. (He) got back to his room about 13:15. I visited him at 17:30 and he was awake and chatting with me. No one had seen, or talked to his doctor, or had any data on the computer about Don’s procedure’s results. Guess we will have to wait til tomorrow. He hopes to go home soon."

Since that report, Don has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. He has been talking with friends on the phone and is in good spirits. As one would expect, he's chomping at the bit to go out on a fire run. However, doctor's have told him to take it easy, not lift anything, and start building strength with short walks.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 21, 2007 -- SJFD Tier 4 Response

Monday afternoon (May 21, 2007 @ approx. 12:30), John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 to a Tier 4 on Communications Hill, 547 Adeline, near Communications Hill Blvd. and Hillsdale Ave. Also on scene were FASCV members Fred Oehm and Mike Chappell. SJFD responded with Engine 13, Water Tender 13, and B-13 (first units on scene) along with Engine 18, Water Tender 18 and help from CalFire and 2 copters. Also reported on scene were Engine 12, Brush Patrol 12, Engine 19 and all the stations with wild fire type engines, because it was a Tier 4.

This fire was a significant challenge as winds had just begun to kick up and humidities dropped rapidly. It was all flashy fuels that burned rapidly requiring a lot of resources to be thrown into structure protection. In the end, SJFD and CalFire did an excellent job of curbing this blaze. The fire was estimated to be 25 to 30 acres in size.

Additional information can be found here on the SJFD Informational Blog and an amateur video of the fire can be seen by clicking on this YouTube link:
Fire - Communications Hill.

-- Thanks to FASCV President John Whiteside, SJFD Photog. Craig Rose and SJ Fire Explorer Captain Kenny Needham for their input

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RSVP Time Draws Near

Remember, if you are attending the next FASCV monthly meeting (to be held May 31, 2007) at the South San Francisco Fire Dept. Training Center (which includes a dinner provided by the SSFFD firefighters), you must RSVP to John Whitaker by this Wednesday - May 23. Click on this link for details: "June Meeting Details"

Monday, May 21, 2007

May 20, 2007 -- San Jose Tier 2 Response

Sunday afternoon (May 20, 2007 @ 18:55), John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 to a Tier 2 at Watson Park, Jackson Street at N. 22nd Street. John happened to be at the station doing maintenance on the support unit when the call came in (the second Tier 2 of the afternoon, by the way). When Fire Communications Leader Randall Larson arrived to take "Com 26", John said he "...was available if Chief Kevin Conant wanted us." He did, and we helped with dinners.

-- Thanks to John Whiteside for this information

Don Gilbert Back In Hospital

John Whiteside reports that he has received a call from Don's wife, Ginger, who says that Don is back in the hospital. It seems that one of the earlier gall stones had "escaped" and gotten lodged in his "ductwork". Ginger reported that the doctors will " a procedure tomorrow (Monday, May 21) going in through his mouth to handle the stone." That does not sound like fun. Everyone, send Don your positive thoughts.

-- Thanks to FACV President John Whiteside for this information

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

May 06, 2007 -- San Jose Tier 3 Response

Sunday afternoon (May 06, 2007 @ 14:57) John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 with John Whitaker to a Tier 3 grass fire in San Jose. The fire was burning at the end of Wendover Lane, near the intersection of Wendover Ln. and Nieman Blvd. in San Jose's Evergreen District.

Many homes were threatened but most had the proper "fire-safe" construction along with plenty of defensible space. This was a wind driven fire that in some older neighborhoods might have done tremendous damage. Quick work by SJFD and natural bare earth across the head of the fire was what stopped the spread.

For further details, check out this link to the SJFD Blog. Additional photos can be seen by going to this album link.

-- Thanks to FASCV President John Whiteside and Craig Rose for this information