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.