Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23, 2008 -- 2nd-Alarm Response in Morgan Hill

On Tuesday morning, December 23, Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara County Fire to 18445 Shadowbrook Way in Morgan Hill. Responding to the 5:14 A.M. page was John Whiteside and Don Gilbert in Support Unit 2. Meeting them on scene were Mike Chappell and John Whitaker. Mike lives only a few blocks from the fire scene.

The fire was located to the west of Monterey Hwy., very near County Sta. 12, just up Llagas Rd. The garage of the 2,050 sq. ft. home was fully involved when Eng. 12 arrived on scene. Limited access to the structure hampered early firefighting efforts. The single-story home was located down a long, narrow driveway off the cul-de-sac. As the fire burned in the garage, the residents first awoke when their power went out. They then noticed smoke coming under their bedroom door and evacuated the structure. A Corvette was destroyed in the garage and a Mazda SUV and a pick-up were destroyed and/or damaged in the driveway.

Firefighters were happy to see our donuts and coffee arrive as the early morning weather was cold and damp. Rain was in the vicinity, but fortunately stayed away for the duration of the event. The support unit was released from service shortly before 9:00 A.M.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

December 19, 2008 -- Another Response in Santa Clara

On December 19, Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara City Fire to a 2nd-alarm structure fire. Jerry Haag responded to the call in Support Unit 1 to the incident at 1361 Calabazas. Jerry was met on scene by FASCV members Bob Gundrum and George Hoyt.

For the second fire in a row in the City of Santa Clara, Jerry Haag has submitted the following:

"This was a two-story
apartment building. The fire (was located) in a front unit on the second floor. The first engine in made an aggressive attack and knocked down the fire before it could get into the attic space. We were paged out at 11:38 A.M. and were back in quarters at 1:45 P.M."

Bob Gundrum supplied the accompanying photo.

December 16, 2008 -- 3rd-alarm Reponse to Santa Clara

On Tuesday, December 16, FASCV was paged at 4:06 PM by Santa Clara City Fire. Bob Gundrum and Jerry Haag responded to the 3rd-alarm fire with Support Unit 1. The fire was located at 2097 Duane Ave.

Jerry Haag submitted the following report:

"It was for an electrical room fire at a small industrial building. There was lots of hazmat in the building but the fire was confined to the room of origin. There was a second alarm response at the fire on Duane, the third was called for station coverage, since they had several simultaneous incidents elsewhere in the city. That situation had them down to one in-service engine at one point. We went through one pot of coffee and a few bottled drinks and returned to quarters about 7:00 PM."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 9, 2008 -- A Busy Day for Fire Associates

For the last few weeks, things have been quiet on the fire scene in the Santa Clara Valley -- Until today! Fire Associates responded to 3 calls for help. Details follow:

Fire 1) 11:57 P.M. (technically on Dec. 8
th), 2nd Alarm, Santa Clara County Fire. John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 to 19621 Black Rd. in the hills above Lexington Reservoir. The fire fully consumed a home on Black Arrow Road, about 1,000 feet off the 20000-block of Black Rd. Met on scene by John Whitaker and Don Gilbert, the Support Unit's hot coffee and donuts were well-received by cold firefighters. The Support Unit remained on scene until approximately 5:00 A.M.

Fire 2) 1:13 A.M., 2
nd Alarm, Mountain View Fire. Larry Carr and Jerry Haag responded with Support Unit 4 to 2320 California Street. Although canceled en route, Jerry Haag reported that the fire was on a balcony of a two-story apartment building and spread into the second-floor apartment. Quick knockdown by Engine 3. 11 adults and 3 children displaced. The support unit was returned to quarters at approximately 2:50 A.M.

Fire 3) 2:45 P.M., 3rd Alarm, San Jose Fire
(see photo above). John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 to the call at 1088 Wheat Court in the City's eastern foothills. The fire fully involved a two-story house. John was met on scene by John Whitaker, Fred Oehm, George Hoyt and Mike Chappell. The firefighting efforts were made interesting by a Life Safety Alert for gun powder and ammunition stored in the garage. No detonation occurred, however. Support Unit 2 was released at 5:00 P.M.

John Whitaker's photos from 1088 Wheat Court incident can be seen at: SJS - Wheat Court Fire

Six additional photos can be viewed at: abclocal.go.com

Monday, November 24, 2008

2009 Officers Installed at Dinner Event

The newly elected officers for Fire Associates were installed at the November monthly meeting. Held on November 6th at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose, the elected officials were installed by guest-of-honor Kevin Conant, San Jose Fire Dept. Bat. Chief 1A. Chief Conant and his wife, Debbi, were hosted for the evening by incoming president John Whitaker and his wife, Liz.

Elected officers are: John Whitaker, president; Bob Gundrum, vice president; Cliff Smith, treasurer; Stan Kelso, secretary; Jerry Haag, director; and Herman DeKruyff, director. All officer's will serve a two-year term, with the exception of Herman, who will serve the remaining year of his two-year term.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

*** Fund Raising Report ***

Initial Fund Raising Blows Through Goal!

To date, the drive to purchase a new Support Unit has raised $35,450! This sum, when combined with $20,000 already in the treasury, has given us the $55,000 necessary to make the purchase -- taking advantage of a one-time deal offered by North Bay Ford in Santa Cruz.

But, the drive is not over.

Additional money is now being sought to outfit the rig. A 6,000 kW diesel generator has already been purchased, but we still need such things as a 50-gallon, potable water tank and pump; telescopic area lighting; and an emergency radio console. As soon as this equipment is acquired and installed, the rig will go into service to help Santa Clara county-wide fire departments provided rehab services to their firefighters.

If you wish to contribute, a check can be sent to:

Fire Associates "New Rig Fund"
455 S. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-7605

Remember, FASCV is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization per Federal Tax Code, Section 501(c)4.

October 29, 2008 -- South County Fire Response

On October 29, at 3:12 P.M., Fire Associates' help was requested by South County Fire. John Whiteside and Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit 2 with
Mike Chappell there in a Cal Fire capacity. John Whiteside provided the following details:

"October 29, South County Fire (CAL FIRE), with Gilroy, 3rd-alarm, 1910-era Victorian, Holsclaw Road at Gilman Road. We got a 'heads-up' from Mike who called me on phone to alert of upcoming page. When we left the scene at 1900, they had put so much foam on the ruins that it looked like a snow storm had been through. Unbelievable scene!!! There were 10 “red” rigs, including 2 SSC WTs, plus 2 additional WTs (private and Gilroy public works). Water shuttle required from area of The Outlets due to dry hydrant at scene."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008 -- Response for County Fire

At 6:43 A.M. on Saturday, October 25, Fire Associates was paged to a vegetation fire to the east of Hwy. 17 near Summit Rd. Located approx.
1,400 ft. north of Summit Rd. on Mtn. Charlie Rd., the fire involved dry leaves and undergrowth amongst the typical Coastal Range mix of oaks, tan oaks, etc. John Whiteside arrived in Support Unit 2 and was assisted on scene by FASCV members John Whitaker and George Hoyt.

The fire was approximately one-quarter acre in size, but had the potential to spread on an exceptionally warm morning. The cause appeared to be a tree limb that had come down on power lines along Mtn. Charlie Rd. which ignited the dry autumn leaves. On scene at the County-run event were units from Santa Clara County Fire, Cal Fire CZU, Ben Lomond Crew 1, and the Loma Prieta Volunteers. Fire Associates
provided ice-cold beverages and a cup of morning coffee welcomed crews as they were released.

Fire Associates personnel remained on scene until they were released at approximately 9:45 A.M.

John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at:
CNT - Mtn. Charlie Rd.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Fire Associates Has A New Support Unit

Fire Associates has been involved in a fast-paced fund raising drive to purchase a new support unit. This month, with contributions from dozens of individuals and organizations, we achieved that goal.

We have taken delivery of a brand new, 2008 Ford F-550 Super Duty Diesel. Painted red, with a white roof, and equipped with 20-in.-deep utility boxes, the unit will be a much-needed replacement that will ensure a reliable response from Fire Associates for years to come.

To date, the drive has raised $35,200! This sum, when combined with $20,000 already in the treasury, has allowed us to make the purchase. We say "to date" because the drive is not over.

Now, additional money will be sought to outfit the rig. A 6,000 kW diesel generator has already been purchased, but we still need such things as a 50-gallon, potable water tank and pump; telescopic area lighting; and an emergency radio console. As soon as this equipment is acquired and installed, the rig will go into service to help Santa Clara county-wide fire departments provided rehab services to their firefighters.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October 15, 2008 -- 2nd-Alarm Response for Santa Clara City Fire

At 4:27 A.M. on October 15, 2008, Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara City Fire to a structure fire at 1601 Coleman Ave. The second-alarm event involved a Costco big-box warehouse store. Responding for FASCV was Jerry Haag in Fire Support Unit 1.

First-in Engine 1, Truck 2, Engine 5, and Rescue 2 found fire in the middle of freezers and coolers in meat section. The result…lots of broiled steaks and crab!

Truck 2 aerialed to the roof with two 1 3/4" handlines, one from each engine, deployed at ground level. Additional responders were RE-3, E-4, E-6, and M-1. A special call brought Truck 1 to provide more fans for smoke evacuation.

Fire Support Unit 1 was returned to quarters at Santa Clara Station 9 at 7:30 A.M.

Read the San Jose Mercury News Story at this link: Heavy Smoke in Costco

-- Information submitted by FASCV member Jerry Haag.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 11, 2008 - San Jose Fire 3rd-Alarm

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, FASCV was paged at 2:24 P.M. to a fire in San Jose. The third-alarm fire involved homes at 2065, 2069 and 2075 Limewood Ave. Responding in Fire Support 1 was Bob Gundrum, who was assisted by Jerry Haag.

Three, single-family dwellings were involved in the incident. The middle of the three was under construction or remodel and had no contents. The fire started in 2069 and spread to exposures on B and D sides. 2065 was moderately damaged; 2069 was burned to the ground; and 2075 was heavily damaged. Cause was reported as “unknown” but there were contractors on the site. Neighbors reported hearing an "explosion".

First-in SJFD Engine 23 tied onto a hydrant right in front of the first-invovled building. Second-due Engine 29 dropped 600 ft. of 5-in. and two 3-in. lines going in and operated the top-mounted Stang, protecting the B-side exposure. IC was Batt. Chief Guerra.

-- Information submitted by FASCV member Jerry Haag.

October 10, 2008 - Mountain View Fire 3rd-Alarm

On Saturday, 10 Oct. 2008, FASCV was dispatched at 2:38 P.M. to a third-alarm structure fire in Mountain View. Located at 333 Escuela Ave., the fire involved a three-story apartment building over a garage. Responding in Fire Support 1 was Bob Gundrum with FASCV members Jerry Haag, George Hoyt and guest Ron Green meeting him on scene.

The fire was in a third-floor apartment on the "A" side of the building. All occupants were reported out safely. The fire was out the window and lapping up on the eaves upon arrival of Mountain View Fire's first-due Engine 1. An aggressive attack stopped the fire in the apartment of origin. The cause was unknown. IC was Acting Batt. Chief Cliff Del Carlo.

-- Information submitted by FASCV member, Jerry Haag.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 5, 2008 -- 2nd-alarm Response for Santa Clara City Fire

At 3:36 A.M. on Sunday morning, Oct. 5, Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara City Fire to a 2-alarm fire in their city. Responding to the call for help was Bob Gundrum in Fire Support Unit 1 with Jerry Haag also on scene. Located at 104 Washington Street, the fire involved a 2-story apartment building.

Bob reports that the fire was in a 2-floor apartment on the "A" side of the building. All 4 occupants (college students) got out safely. First-due equipment reported that there was fire out the window and into eaves upon arrival. Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack with a 2-1/2 inch line and stopped the fire as it entered the attic space. Cause was unknown with Engine 1 first in and the IC was Batt. Chief Titus.

-- Information provided by FASCV member Bob Gundrum

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"New Rig" Fund Raising Report - 9/22/08

The Fire Associates "New Rig Acquisition Fund" continues to grow!

This week, the fund stands at $28,285 -- only $6,715 away from our goal. Fire Associates would like to thank the many people who have contributed. Your contributions will help ensure that we, as an organization, can continue to provide rehab support to all the firefighters who work in Santa Clara County.

That's the good news. On the other side is the fact that the $35,000 goal, when added to $20,000 already in the FASCV treasury, only gives us the $55,000 needed to purchase the rig. The next challenge will be to raise the additional money needed to outfit the unit with a diesel power generator, area lighting, potable water tank and pump, and emergency radio console.

If you wish to contribute, a check can be sent to: Fire Associates "New Rig Fund", 455 S. Mathilda Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086-7605. Remember, FASCV is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization per Federal Tax Code, Section 501(c)4.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 3, 2008 -- 2nd-Alarm Response for County Fire

At 8:47 P.M. on Wednesday night, Sept. 3, FASCV was paged by Santa Clara County Fire to a 2-alarm fire in the Saratoga foothills. Len Williams responded in Support Unit 1 to 21247 Chiquita Way - a large house with an Asian motif.

Len reports that, “…no one was hurt in the fire, but about 1/2 (or more) of the house was destroyed. It was a classic case of the fire having started in the garage, and wasn't discovered until it burst out of the garage. I don't know the cause at this time.”

FSU #1 was returned to quarters around midnight.

-- Information provided by FASCV member Len Williams

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Rig Fund Raising News -- Deadline Extended

We are VERY close to making our purchase!

Because of some "potential" money, our "matching" donor has agreed to extend the deadline for the matching grant for another week, until the 8th of September, -- but that will be it.

I checked with our Treasurer (Cliff Smith) today about how the drive is going. So far, we have raised close to $28K over the $20K the Board has agreed to spend from our treasury. That leaves us only $7,000 short of the $35K we set as our fund raising goal!

There are additional contributions that have been promised, but not yet received. We need to keep working to achieve our goal.

John Whitaker
Vice President, FASCV

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fund Raising for New Rig Nears Goal

As reported in the August, 2008 edition of “The Embers”, Fire Associates needs to replace Support Unit #2. This old rig handles the bulk of our responses and is on its last legs. The "Rig Acquisition Committee" has set a fund-raising goal $35,000. As of August 20, the total now stands at $15,800 -- not quite half way.

If you can help, send a tax-deductible check to:

Fire Associates
New Rig Fund
455 S. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-7605

FASCV is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization per Federal Tax Code, Section 501(c)4. All donations are greatly needed so we may continue providing rehab support to the personnel of Santa Clara County’s 12 fire departments in the manner we have done for the past 39 years.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 20, 2008 -- Plane Crash Response for Cal Fire

On Wednesday evening, at approximately 7:45 P.M., FASCV was paged by Cal Fire to respond to the scene of a light plane crash in San Martin. Although the incident was located at the CHP Truck Scales on northbound Highway 101, within South County Fire's jurisdiction, FASCV's presence was requested by Cal Fire. Our response was requested because of a lengthy overhaul effort necessitated by the presence of the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office and CHP accident investigation team.

Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 while John Whitaker and Mike Chappell arrived in their private vehicles. The scene was eerily lit by a combination of fire department floodlights and the lights from about a half-dozen TV news vans. Also on scene, were two CHP helicopters -- one bringing in the accident team while the other reportedly came down from Sacramento with CHP "brass". Because a CHP facility was involved with a plane crash, evidence gatherers had to rule out any sort of "intentional" action.

FASCV provided the usual Cliff Bars, drinks and coffee before being released by Cal Fire at 11:10 P.M.

A news story about the event can be viewed at this link: GilroyDispatch.com

A fact sheet for the aircraft involved can be viewed at:
SOCATA Rallye 235E

Whitaker's photo from the response can be viewed at: San Martin Plane Crash

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Firefighter Dies In Off-duty Accident

The following information was passed along from Santa Clara County Fire Assistant Fire Chief, Steven Staump:

"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Firefighter Jim McCluskey.

Jim became a member of the Santa
Clara County Central Fire Protection District on October 20, 1986. He served for several years as a paramedic and as a member of the Department’s Special Operations Task Force. Active in community service, Jim served as a member of the Campbell Police Department S.W.A.T. paramedic program, and as a council member in his hometown of Patterson, California.

In respect to Firefighter
McCluskey, flags at all Department facilities will be flown at half-staff, and will remain at half-staff until the time of interment, which is expected to be some time during the coming week. Funeral service information is forthcoming. Please join me in keeping the McCluskey family in your thoughts and prayers."

Details of the accident can be read in this article from the "Patterson Irrigator", a newspaper from Patterson, CA: "Firefighter Dies In Accident"

Details of the upcoming services can be read at: Jim McCluskey Memorial

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August 8, 2008 -- 2nd-Alarm Reponse for County Fire

On Friday morning, Aug. 8, at 2:44 A.M., Santa Clara County Fire paged FSCV to a second-alarm fire in Los Gatos. Located at 14 E. Main Street, the fire was at the rear of Capelli Salon -- a beauty parlor. Responding in Support Unit 2 was John Whiteside. He was met by Jerry Haag and John Whitaker, who were already on scene.

Fire crews reported that flames were "blowing out the back of the structure" when they arrived. The firefighting efforts were hampered by a Life Safety Alert for wires down on the "Charile" side of the single-story building. FASCV set up at the rehab site located on the Main Street bridge -- directly over Hwy 17. The ususal sevices (water, coffee, etc.) were provided along with gormet cookies that were left over from the FASCV August monthly meeting that had been held only hours before the call. Support Unit 2 was released by the IC at approximatly 5:30 A.M.

More photos can be viewed at: Capelli Salon - Los Gatos

Monday, August 4, 2008

August 3, 2008 -- Response for Palo Alto Fire

Sunday Morning, Aug. 3, at 7:20 A.M., Palo Alto Fire Dispatch was contacted by the resident of 841 Melville to advise that there were flames coming from the dishwasher. The first-due engine (E3) was about 5 blocks away and, upon arrival, advised of a single-family dwelling "fully involved". The structure was about 3,000 sq. ft.

Larry Carr responded with FSU #4 and was assisted by Bob Gundrum and visitor, Ron Green. FSU #4 was released and back in "quarters" by 10:00 A.M.

-- Information provided by FASCV member Bob Gundrum

New Rig Fund Raising Status

Fire Associates needs to replace Support Unit #2. This old rig handles the bulk of our rehab responses and is on its last legs. The Rig Acquisition Committee has set a fund-raising goal of $35,000.

To help, please send a check to:

Fire Associates New Rig Fund
455 S. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-7605

FASCV is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization per Federal Tax Code, Section 501(c)4. All donations are greatly needed so we may continue providing rehab support Santa Clara County’s 12 fire departments in the manner we have done for the past 39 years.

A status of the current total can be viewed at: "The Embers" - August

Aug. 2, 2008 -- Response for Santa Clara County Fire

On Saturday night, August 2, at 9:56 P.M., FASCV was paged by
Santa Clara County Fire to a grass fire in the Redwood Estates village off Highway 17. Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains off La Verne Drive, the fire was down at the base of a very steep ravine near a tree house. Responding for FASCV was John Whiteside in Support Unit 2 who was met at the scene by John Whitaker.

Thank goodness for GPS!!!

The roads in this area resemble driveways more than streets and finding one's way in the darkness without an exact address proved to be a challenge. Once located, vehicle access was limited with atleast 10 fire rigs parked nose-to-tail in the darkness. The incident was declared a "high dispatch" fire because of the limited access and the fire's potential to race up the hillside. Although technically only a single alarm, a special request was made for Fire Associates' service.

Gatorade, water and Cliff Bars were walked into the fire command area to refresh very tired fire crews. One firefighter was transported by AMR ambulance due to exhaustion. FASCV was asked to leave the provisions on scene and then back out our vehicles to allow access for the AMR rig. The Support Unit was returned to quarters around midnight.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 8, 2008 - Response to Milpitas Second-Alarm

On Tuesday morning, July 8, at 3:32 A.M., FASCV was paged by the Milpitas Fire Department to a grass fire. The second-alarm fire was located at 2122 Old Calaveras Road in the hills above the city. Jerry Haag answered the call in Support Unit 1.

Other agencies responding to the early-morning call were Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Dept., Cal Fire, East Bay Regional Parks District Fire Dept. and the Santa Clara County Fire Dept. It must have been quite a "party"!

A newspaper story can be viewed at: Milpitas Post

-- Information provided by FASCV member Jerry Haag.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Support Unit Fundraising Drive

Fire Associates needs to replace Support Unit #2. This old rig handles the bulk of our rehab responses and is on its last legs. It is 18 years old, has over 130,000 miles and has become a mechanical liability. Unfortunately, a new vehicle that meets our needs costs approximately $70K-$100K.

However, a one-time opportunity is now sitting at North Bay Ford in Santa Cruz County. A Ford F550 utility truck was painted and prepared for a fire agency that backed out of the deal and it is being priced for us at substantially below retail value.

But, we need to act fast! We are currently trying to raise an immediate quantity of cash to take advantage of this situation.

If you can help, please send a tax-deductible check to:

Fire Associates
New Rig Fund
455 S. Mathilda Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-7605

All donations would be greatly appreciated so we may continue serving Santa Clara County fire departments in the manner we have done for the last 39 years. We will provide updates on this fund-raising effort monthly in "The Embers" and here on our blog site.

"The Embers" Now Available On Line

The July issue of "The Embers" is now available on line. Check out:
July Embers

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 20, 2008 -- San Jose Third-Alarm Response

At approximately 8:00 P.M. on the longest day of the year, FASCV was paged by the San Jose Fire Department to a 3-alarm house fire near the intersection of Curtner and Meridian. Located at 2417 and 2425 Westpark Drive, the fire actually involved 2 houses. Apparently starting in the yard between the two structures, the fire spread to the fences and then got under the eaves of both buildings. Not helping the firefighting effort was the heavy shake roof of one of the houses.

Although reporterd to be a 2-alarm fire, because of the very hot weather, a third alarm was called so Engine 17 could provide downwind "bran patrol". With the day's temperature down just a little from the triple-digit high, firefighters were glad to have some of FASCV's lemonade on hand. Bottles and bottles of water were also consumed. On hand for FASCV were members Don Gilbert (who brought Support Unit 2), Fred Oehm, George Hoyt and your "Blog Master", John Whitaker. After extensive overhaul, FASCV was released shortly after 10:30 P.M.

News stories can be read at: KTVU News and CBS5 News

John Whitaker's photos are at: SJS - Westpark Drive Fire

Sunday, June 8, 2008

July Monthly Meeting Canceled

At the June meeting, it was decided by the FASCV membership that the monthly meeting for July should be canceled. Concerns were raised about the date's (Thurs., July 3) close proximity to the Fourth of July Holiday. The next monthly meeting will be held on Thurs., August 7. Watch this blog for details.

Monday, June 2, 2008

May 21, 2008 -- Tier 3 Grass Fire in San Jose

On Wednesday evening, May 21, Fire Associates was paged by San Jose Fire to a tier-3 grass fire. Located near the intersection of East Capital Expwy. and Tuers Road. Responding to the 5:20 P.M. page were Don Gilbert and John Whiteside in Support Unit 2. Also on scene were FASCV members George Hoyt, Mike Chappell and John Whitaker. The fire burned an area south of Capital Expressway and was spread quickly by strong winds. San Jose Fire, with the help of Cal Fire and Copter 106 had the fire under control within two hours. Fire Associates helped with the ordering, pick-up and delivery of pizzas to hungry firefighters that responded to the dinner-hour event.

To see John Whitaker's photos, go to this link: Tier-3 Grass Fire

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 19, 2008 -- Community Service/Fire Safety Presentation

On Monday, May 19, John Whitaker and John Whiteside brought Support Unit 2 to a Community Service/Fire Safety Presentation for the Second Graders at Sakamoto Elementary School. The school is located at 6280 Shadelands Drive. John Whitaker arranged for the program with Engineer Rob Cone and Capt. J.P. Santos of San Jose Station 12. Station 12 is the first-due company for Sakamoto School.

John's wife, Liz Whitaker, had taught at Sakamoto for 34 years when she retired in June, 2006 (Liz's first day of teaching was the same day Sakamoto opened it's doors for the very first time). Now, a close family friend is retiring from teaching 2nd Grade at Sakamoto after 25 years of service. As a gesture of appreciation, John arranged for Engine 12 and Patrol 12 to come to the school playground and make a special presentation to all four Second Grade classes. Second Graders learn about the fire department and fire safety as part of their Social Studies curriculum.

Capt. Santos and his crew gave two, 25-minute presentations on fire safety that were well-received by the students. At the end of the program, all the children got to climb through the Engine, try on a fire turnout coat and were given a cup of lemonade by the Fire Associates Support Unit. While John Whiteside dispensed the drinks, John Whitaker talked about the importance of the service provided by Fire Associates. After sitting in the hot sun for 25 minutes, the children got to see first hand how refreshing a cup of lemonade can be to the firefighters.

Photos of the event can be seen at:
Sakamoto School Photos.

May 18, 2008 -- 4 Responses for San Jose Fire

Sunday, May 18 was a busy day for Fire Associates and the San Jose Fire Department. Read on...

"The Villages" - It started off at about 11:30 A.M. with a 4-Alarm fire at a retirement complex in the Evergreen district of the city. First reported as a "Precautionary First Alarm", the fire actually fully-involved 4 units of an 8-unit building. Your Blogmaster (ever on the spot) lives just a few blocks from the sprawling retirement community and quickly noticed a large column of smoke immediately after the first dispatch. John Whiteside was called on the phone to be ready to "saddle up", while John Whitaker headed to the fire scene. Whitaker arrived at 5028 Cribari Vale just behind the 2nd-in engine and took some spectacular photos (view here) before calling Whiteside to inform him that this was "the real deal!" John Whiteside brought Support Unit 2 and FASCV members Mike Chappell and Brian Woodson also arrived on scene. Firefighters worked hard to contain the major damage to the 4-plexes where the fire began, limiting the extent of the fire in the other half of the building to minimal fire damage in the attic space and water damage. Unfortunately, as reported in the SJ Mercury News, the fire resulted in the death of the occupant of the unit where the fire started.

Creek Estates Court - While on scene at "The Villages", firefighters in Rehab noticed a large column of smoke coming from a neighborhood just outside the complex's main gate. Fire units that had just been released from the 4-alarmer, quickly made their way to the address on Creek Estates Court to find the fence and side of the garage fully involved. It was odd to see Engine 3 and Truck 303 as the first-in equipment. They are a downtown-based station, but had been called to "The Villages" and became the primary equipment on this second fire -- way out of their normal response area. John Whitaker voluntarily left from "The Villages" fire in his private vehicle to provide these 1st-alarm crews with much-needed relief on a very hot day. All of these crews had just worked a 4-alarm fire and had not yet made it into rehab. Early impressions were that the Creek Estates fire looked serious, so Brian Woodson left "The Villages" to retrieve Support Unit 3 from its base at Station 26 on Tully Rd. When the Creek Estates fire was quickly doused, Brian brought the support unit back to "The Villages". John Whitaker's photos of this fire can be seen at: Creek Estates Ct. Fire.

Tier 2 Grass Fire - At 4:35 P.M., shortly after Brian Woodson arrived back at "The Villages" with Support Unit 3, San Jose Fire called a Tier 2 for a grass fire near a mobile home park on Old Oakland Rd. at Bern Ct. Brian and Mike Chappell responded from the Evergreen district to this fire way out in the north-central portion of the city. Brian and Mike provided much-needed service to the fire crews who had a difficult time containing the fire to an area along Coyote Creek and some surrounding grass and brush. The fire was adjacent to the San Jose Municipal Golf Course.

And now for the fourth fire of the day in San Jose!!!

6247 Solomon Court - At about 6:30 P.M., while John Whiteside was returning Support Unit 2 to Station 26, San Jose Fire crews were called to 6247 Solomon Court in the southern part of the city. This 3-alarm fire involved a large 2-story home -- the front of which was fully involved when the first equipment arrived, according to a San Jose Mercury News story. Fortunately, John was only one block from the station when the called was dispatched. "Fortunate" because his supplies were totally depleted from the two previous Evergreen-area fires. He quickly restocked, and headed out to the Blossom Valley district. Brian Woodson and Mike Chappell eventually joined John when their Support Unit 3 was released from the tier fire. FASCV members Don Gilbert and Jill Levy were also on scene to lend support. Most of the fire crews working this fire had either been on the earlier tier fire or had been at "The Villages" location. It was after 11:00 P.M. before John returned home. That is a long day in the hot sun!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 7, 2008 -- 4th Alarm for San Jose Fire

On Wednesday, May 7, at 11:36 AM, Fire Associates was paged to a fire at "The Atrium". Located at 1009 Blossom River Way in San Jose, "The Atrium" is a independent living and supportive services apartment facility for seniors. The fire eventually went to a 4th alarm with mutual aide being supplied by Santa Clara County Fire.

With John Whiteside arriving in Support Unit 2, Fire Associates set up a rehab area in a portion of the facility's parking lot. Fortunately, the area was shaded by some large trees. Although not a hot day, it was sunny and the firefighters appreciated the shade with the mid-afternoon sun beating down. The fire began in a laundry area, but quickly spread through the walls and had to be "chased down" by fire crews. This required some heavy overhaul work in very smokey hallways.

Fire Associates had a very good turnout of members. This was helpful as we not only served a large amount of lemonade, but also were asked to deliver and serve Togo's sandwiches to fire crews and a larger than usual number of AMR workers. FASCV members also walked the perimeter of the large facility with water and lemonade that were served out of portable coolers.

A link to the
SJ Mercury News story is at: The Atrium Evacuated.

A link to John Whitaker's Photos is at: The Atrium.

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4, 2008 -- 4th-alarm Response for SJFD

Fire Associates was paged at 5:13 A.M. on Friday morning to a 4-alarm warehouse fire. Located at 850 Faulstich Ct., the large, metal building was a total loss. An unfortunate occurrence during the firefight was the discovery of a body shortly before sunrise.

This was one fire where Rehab was well-staffed by FASCV members. First on the scene were FASCV members Jerry Haag and
John Whitaker, who were able to guide two Fire Support Units into the scene. Arriving in Support Unit 2 was Mike Chappell and arriving with Support Unit 3 were Don Gilbert and John Whiteside. All the help was necessary as the early morning hours meant that coffee and donuts were in great demand by the firefighters. Extra cookies were also provided by a nearby bakery outlet and, eventually, FASCV members delivered and served breakfast burritos.

Supporting on-scene FASCV members in spirit was Len Williams, who provided this e-mailed observation:

It went to a 4th, but the 4th-alarm companies, consisting of a box-alarm assignment from the city of Santa Clara, went to staging at nearby SJFD Sta. 5.

I heard it come in (on my scanner) straight from the top. I've been getting up extraordinarily early for the past week (with another 10 days to go until Apr. 15), so I was up when it came in as a report of a warehouse on fire in the area of Oakland Rd. and Gish.

The first alarm companies called for a 2nd alarm almost immediately.

While on my way into the office, shortly before 6:00 a.m., I heard the San Jose news radio station air unit saying that it was pretty spectacular from where they were."

FASCV members were on scene until after the noon hour.

News stories can be viewed at: NBC11 and SJ Merc-News
John Whitaker's photos of the fire can be seen at: SJS - Warehouse Fire

Large Turnout for April Monthly Meeting

A large group of members and guests was on hand for the April Monthly Meeting. Held at the San Jose Fire Museum, the members were greeted by our host, retired SJFD Asst. Fire Chief, John McMillan. Chief McMillan was our guest at the December Monthly Meeting, so, on this night, he provided an update on what has transpired since December.

The Museum is currently making a concerted effort to acquire San Jose's old Station No. 1. If successful, plans are to make that the new home of the San Jose Fire Museum. The current status is that the Museum continues to gain support from political leaders, former political leaders, developers, builders and a variety of community associations. There are several large hurdles yet to overcome, but the feeling is that the building will be saved from the wrecking ball.

After the presentation, members discussed a full agenda of club business, and then they were able to roam through the 16,000 sq. ft. warehouse to view the large collection of antique and classic apparatus and firefighting memorabilia. A good time must have been had by all as the last few members didn't leave until almost 10:00 PM!

The FASCV would like to thank Chief McMillan for opening up the museum to our members and hopes that this meeting might become an annual event.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March 29, 2008 -- Once Again, A Response for SCCFD

Let's do this one more time!

The fourth FASCV response of the day (and the third for
Santa Clara County Fire) was for a fire in the upstairs bedroom of a duplex. Located at 103 El Porton, Los Gatos, the fire was quickly knocked down by arriving firefighters.

FASCV was paged to the scene at 9:46 P.M. with John Whiteside again driving Support Unit 2. This time, he was met by John Whitaker who directed him into the scene. The fire was located within
the "Rinconada Hills" gated community with lots of narrow roadways - some of which were blocked by 5-inch hoselines. Once set up, FASCV dispensed the beverage of choice - hot coffee. The evening was cold, firefighters were wet, and this was the third fire of the day for some of the crew. FASCV was released shortly after 12:45 A.M. - Sunday!

The Los Gatos Observer's news story can be read at: "Fire Destroys Townhouse".

John Whitaker's third set of photos for the day are at:
CNT - Los Gatos Duplex.

March 29, 2008 -- Another Santa Clara Co. Response

For the third time in less than 24 hours, FASCV responded to a multi-alarm fire. This time, we were requested at approximately 2:09 P.M. by Santa Clara County Fire for a 2-alarmer in Los Gatos. Located at 805 University, Unit H, the fire involved a business named PupGear - a primarily web-based business located in a small, strip mall warehouse.

John Whiteside arrived in
Support Unit 2 to find that FASCV members Don Gilbert, Jerry Haag, George Hoyt and John Whitaker were already on scene awaiting his arrival. Arriving firefighters had to cut through a 12x15 roll-up door to gain access to the fire. Once inside, the fire was hard to fight as it was primarily located in the ceiling space and then eventually spread to flats of cardboard shipping boxes. Once the fire was knocked down, FASCV provided lemonade, water and Cliff Bars to weary fire department personnel. Most of the command staff and some of the firefighters had already been at the earlier Campbell fire.

The Los Gatos Observer's news story can be viewed at
: "Los Gatos Business Fire"

John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: CNT - PupGear

March 29, 2008 -- Response for Santa Clara Co. Fire

On Saturday, March 29, FASCV was paged by Santa Clara County Fire to a house fire in Campbell. Located at 133 West Rosemary Lane, the fire was contained to the rear of the structure. This was the second response by FASCV for the day, as earlier in the morning, Jerry Haag was at the scene of a 2nd-alarm fire in the City of Santa Clara.

For this event, Jerry Haag once again responded in Support Unit 1. Helping out on scene in Campbell were: Don Gilbert, John Whitaker and George Hoyt. After supplying the usual morning fare (donuts, coffee, etc.), we were released at approximately 10:00 A.M.

John's Photos can be seen at: CNT - Campbell House Fire.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 8, 2008 -- Third-alarm Response for San Jose

The pagers went off at 2:02 A.M. on Saturday morning and John Whiteside and John Whitaker answered the call. This time it was for a 3rd-alarm fire that destroyed Building 25 on the former site of IBM Corp. in the south-eastern portion of the city. For those in the know, you'll recognize the address of 5600 Cottle Road as the birthplace of a precursor of the magnetic hard drive. This achievement was one of the factors that ultimately lead to the "Silicon Valley" economic boom years.

The fireground covered a massive area and negotiating the maze of hoses proved to be a daunting task. But, once set up near the IC, Support Unit 2 proved to be a very popular site as we distributed 7 dozen donuts and a large amount of coffee and lemonade. It was a mild night, but the firefighters were
wet, tired and hungry. FASCV was released at approximately 10:30 A.M.

Recently, developers, the City of San Jose and preservationists have been at odds as to the historic importance of the 69,000 square-foot building. But, after this fire completely gutted the structure, there's no denying that the building's future has been greatly compromised. Click on the accompanying
photo above for a video of firefighter efforts.

To read more about the fire and developers plans for the site, go to: sfgate.com.

John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: SJS - IBM Fire