Friday, September 25, 2009

September 24, 2009 -- A Busy, 2-Response Day for Fire Associates

hortly after Fire Associates Board members had adjourned their afternoon meeting at Station 26 in San Jose, our pagers became very active.

1) First to call for our service was Palo Alto Fire. FASCV was paged at 2:57 P.M. to 420 Emerson Street in that city for a 2-alarm fire in a restaurant. Bob Gundrum and Jerry Haag responded with Support Unit 1. They were on the road returning from the Board meeting when the call arrived. Jerry Haag has submitted this report:

Date: 24 Sept. 2009
Time: 1457 Sonitrol dispatch, 1600 arrival, released at 1730.
Type: Structure fire
Size: Second alarm
Jurisdiction: City of Palo Alto
Location: 420 Emerson St.

Details: Single-story, fancy French restaurant (Evvia Estiatorio). Fire, apparently associated with cooking equipment, spread into ceiling space. Good stop. Restaurant can be returned to operation fairly soon. Overhaul was fairly minimal, so our services were not required for very long. Second-alarm units were quickly released.

Units in attendance:
PAF: E-1,2,3, T-6 (Joint PA/MV Quint); BS-2; Medic-1; Batt. 6
MTV: E-3, T-1
CNT: Batt. 14

Responding Members: Gundrum (driver), Haag
Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

Remarks: Gundrum and Haag responded from SJS Station 26. No other members from NW County were available.

** Above photo by Will Oremus/Daily News

2) Then, at 6:18 PM, San Jose Fire issued a request for Fire Associates. This time, a house was on fire at
1370 Mocho Court -- near the intersection of Tully Rd. and McLaughlin Ave. John Whitaker responded in Support Unit 2 and he was met by FASCV member George Hoyt. This being a 3-alarm fire in a residential neighborhood, space was at a premium. Upon arrival, John found streets full of fire equipment and a maze of hoses leading from several hydrants to the blaze.

The closest the Support Unit could get to the scene was 2 blocks away. Med 30 directed that their only need was for cold water, as his supply was running low. Later in the evening, George made a meal-run (burritos) at the direction of the IC. Meals were provided for the two engine companies and one truck that were staying to do the extensive overhaul.

The support unit was released shortly after 10:00 P.M. and was back in quarters at 10:30 P.M.

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 18, 2009 -- Multi-Alarm Response for Santa Clara City Fire

On Friday morning, Sept. 18, the Fire Associates' pagers came to life at 2:46 A.M. with word of a multi-alarm fire in the City of Santa Clara. Located at 800 Scott Blvd., the fire was at the Citti's Florist building. Jerry Haag answered the call, taking Support Unit 1 to the incident. Jerry was joined on scene by FASCV member, Ron Green. Jerry has submitted the following report:

Date: 19 Sept. 2009
Time: 0245 Gundrum dispatch, 0330 arrival, released at 0445.
Type: Structure fire
Size: Second alarm
Jurisdiction: City of Santa Clara
Location: 800 Scott Blvd.

Details: Single story, small, free standing commercial building (Citti's Florist). Fire started in or adjacent to a delivery van parked in near proximity to the building. Fire spread into the overhanging fascia and was largely confined there due to quick effective action by first arriving engine and truck. Overhaul was minimal so our services were not required for very long. Second alarm and mutual aid (SJS) units were quickly released.

Units in attendance (first alarm units only listed):
SNC: E-3,9; T-2; R-2; HM-9; M-1; Batt. 1 (Titus)
Responding Members: Haag (driver), Green
Fire Support Unit Responding: FS-1

Remarks: Gundrum had to handle paging since Sonitrol computers were temporarily down.

Addition information can be viewed at the following link:

* Photo used courtesy of Craig Allyn Rose

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

San Jose Fire Dept. Hosts Area-wide 9/11 Event

On Friday, September 11, the San Jose Fire Department hosted an area-wide memorial ceremony honoring the victims and heroes of the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy. Held at Fire Station No. 1, the event was emceed by Batt. 1A Chief, Kevin Conant and featured speeches by San Jose City Mayor, Chuck Reed, and Fire Chief, Darryl Von Raesfeld. The scene was framed by an American flag hung from the ladders of San Jose's two new tillered aerial trucks, and flanked by an antique fire engine from the San Jose Fire Museum. The nation's colors were presented by San Jose Fire Dept. Honor Guard and music was supplied the San Jose Fire Dept. Chorus. At the conclusion of the event, a wreath with the words "911 - Never Forget" was placed at the memorial bell by the City's mayor and fire chief.

John Whitaker's photos of the event can be viewed at this link: San Jose's 9/11 Memorial

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ten FASCV Responses in 12 Days

Ten responses in twelve days!!!
Yep, that's what we said. After a below-average number of calls over the past several months, the dam burst during the first half of September.

It all began on the afternoon of September 2nd with a Tier 3 grass fire on San Jose's Communications Hill. We'll describe that response and then list the rest from there...

  1. Sept. 2, 2009: SJS - Communications Hill Tier 3 Grass Fire

    Fire Associates was paged at 3:00 P.M. to 2700 Carol Drive for a grass fire that was quickly spreading up the West side of Communications Hill. John Whitaker (and his guest, Bruce Dembecki) responded in Fire Support Unit 2. Already on scene were Mike Chappell and George Hoyt. FASACV members Don Gilbert and Ron Green also assisted later in the event. The Support Unit was first set up at a command post on the south side of the fire, at the intersection of Helzer Rd. and McIntyre Dr. However, after being set up there a while, it became obvious that the fire crews were too spread out for the Support Unit to be effective. We later moved operations to the main command center on Carol Dr. and were able to distribute meals and drinks to fire crews as they came down off the hill.

    Additional information can be found at these links:

  2. Sept. 3, 2009: SJS - Arson/Homicide Investigation Support

    At 10:46 A.M. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, Fire Associates was paged by special request to 14160 Woodhaven Drive. Earlier in the morning, San Jose Fire units responded to a fully-involved house fire. The incident resulted in a resident fatality and it was determined that the structure might be a crime scene. On a very hot afternoon, Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit 2. He was joined by George Hoyt and John Whitaker. Shade was provided along with some very cold drinks and much-appreciated meals. FASCV was released at approximately 5:00 P.M. -- in time to take the Support Unit up to Mountain View for our Sept. Monthly Meeting.

    Additional information can be found at these links:

  3. Sept. 4, 2009: SJS - "Modified 2nd-Alarm" House Fire

    Although not technically a multi-alarm event, Fire Associates was paged by special request to provide assistance at a house fire near the intersection of Story and MacLaughlin Roads. Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit 2 to the 10:45 A.M. call. He was met on scene at 1045 Owsley Ave. by FASCV members John Whitaker and Ron Green. On another very warm summer afternoon, cold liquids were in demand! Meals from Togo's Sandwiches were also served to some tired fire crews at a thankfully shady rehab location.

  4. Sept. 5, 2009: SJS - Quicksilver County Park Vegetation Fire

    Response number 4 was for a Tier 3 vegetation fire in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Don Gilbert responded to the 4:36 P.M. page in Support Unit 2. He was joined on scene by Jerry Haag, George Hoyt and Dan Ross. Fred Oehm was also on hand in the staging area at Castillero Middle School, 6384 Leyland Park Drive. After reporting to the staging area and providing refreshments and relief to those crews, our new Support Unit's 4-wheel drive capabilities were called upon to deliver meals "up on the hill". Reports were that Don Gilbert was grinning from ear-to-ear as he drove along the trails that lead up from the Mockingbird Hill entrance to the park. Fire crews from Cal Fire, Santa Clara County Fire and San Jose had the 11-acre fire under control by 7:00 P.M.

    Additional information can be found at these links:

  5. Sept. 7, 2009: CNT - Los Altos Area Grass Fire

    Monday, September 7, brought the next in our series of fires. This time, we were paged by Santa Clara County Fire to 5872 Arboretum Drive in Los Altos, near Woods Lane, for a 2nd-alarm grass fire. Larry Carr was quick to answer the 6:04 P.M. call in Support Unit 4. He was met on scene by Jerry Haag and Ron Green.

  6. Sept. 9, 2009: SJS - McKee Road House Fire

    Two days later, on Wednesday, it was back to San Jose for a house fire at 3801 McKee Road on the City's east side. With many of FASCV's "South County" responders unavailable on this day, Jerry Haag answered the late-morning page with a rare sojourne into San Jose with Support Unit 1 and submitted the following:

    Date: 09 Sept. 2009
    Time: 1128 Sonitrol dispatch, 1230 arrival, released at 1345.
    Type: Structure fire
    Size: Augmented First alarm
    Jurisdiction: San Jose
    Location: 3801 McKee Road

    Details: Single-story, single-family, vacant, frame with stucco dwelling. Fire started on interior and spread to attic space. Engine 2, first-in, made attack with two 1-3/4" preconnects assisted by Truck 2 and Engine 19. Because of reported HazMat of unknown nature, County HazMat was requested since San Jose HazMat was otherwise engaged.

    Units in attendance:
    SJS: E-2 & 19, T-2, LU-2, BP-2, Batt. 21 (Alvarado)
    CNT: E-2, BS-2, HM-2
    Responding Members: Haag (driver)
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

    Remarks: Long run but fun to see SJFD in action. FSU-1 ran like a champ.

  7. Sept. 10, 2009: MLP - 3rd Alarm for Multiple-Dwelling Inferno

    The very next day, it was Milpitas Fire's turn with a 3-alarmer. First-in Milpitas units arrrived to see the home a 679 N. Abel St. almost fully involved with a second structure beginning to burn. Wires were already down across a perimeter chain-link fence and the natural gas meter was burning. Fire crews had their hands full with a very smokey fire! A page for FASCV assistance came in at 2:44 P.M. and Bob Gundrum responded in Support Unit 1. He was met on scene by Jerry Haag, John Whitaker and Ron Green. Jerry Haag has submitted the following incident report:

    Date: 10 Sept. 2009
    Time: 1444 Sonitrol dispatch, 1530 arrival, released at 1830.
    Type: Structure fire
    Size: Second alarm
    Jurisdiction: Milpitas
    Location: 679 N. Abel Street

    Details: Single-story, duplex dwelling. Similar structure on the B-side was also involved. Heavy damage to both structures. 24 persons displaced. Three of four handlines were supplied by T-4. T-1 supplied two elevated master streams.

    Units in attendance:
    MLP: E-1,2,3; T-1,4; USAR-1; Batt. 19 (Mihovich); 19-A-5 (Brown)
    Fremont: E-55, T-57, Batt. 5
    SJS: E-19, T-29, LU-29, Batt. 29
    SNC: R-2

    Responding Members: Gundrum (driver), Whitaker, Green, Haag
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FS-1

    Remarks: Meals were served (44 Subway sandwiches).

    Additional information can be found at these links:

  8. Sept. 12, 2009: SCN Request for a 2nd-Alarm Industrial Fire

    Well, with all the fire activity, it was bound to happen -- two requests on the same day in the same city! The first page came in from Santa Clara City Fire at 6:28 P.M. on Saturday, September 12 for a fire burning at ECS Refining. Jerry Haag brought Support Unit 1 and was joined by Bob Gundrum, Ron Grene, Ed Del Prete, and Rick James. Jerry has issued this report:

    Date: 12 Sept. 2009
    Time: 1828 Sonitrol dispatch, 1900 arrival, released at 2216.
    Type: Structure fire
    Size: Second alarm
    Jurisdiction: City of Santa Clara
    Location: 705 Reed St.

    Details: Single-story, industrial building (plastics recycler). Fire in piles of shredded plastic, no structural involvement. All hand lines supplied by E-1, single 5" supply line. Smoldering piles had to be removed from the building using a front-loader operated by a firefighter wearing SCBA. Initial alarm at about 1430, second alarm followed shortly thereafter. FASCV not called for another four hours.

    Units in attendance:
    SNC: E-1,3,6,9; T-2,8; R-2; M-1; Batt. 1 (Phillips)

    Responding Members: Haag (driver), Gundrum, Green, Del Prete, James
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FS-1

    Remarks: Meals were served.

  9. Sept. 12, 2009: SCN Request at 2nd-Alarm Apartment Fire

    At 10:15 P.M., Santa Clara City Fire made another request for FASCV. This time, Bob Gundrum provided the support at the El Paradero Apartments, located at 2050 Royal Drive. He was joined by FASCV members Jerry Haag and Ron Green. Bob has provided the following:

    Date: 12 Sept. 2009
    Time: 2216 Sonitrol dispatch, 2220 arrival, released at 2330
    Type: Structure fire
    Size: Second alarm
    Jurisdiction: City of Santa Clara
    Location: 2050 Royal Dr.

    Details: Two-story, apartment building, smoke from attic, 2nd alarm
    upon arrival (more of a precaution, due to attic involvement). Seat of
    fire quickly located and extinguished. FASCV had just been released
    from the Reed St. call and self-dispatched to this event.

    Units in attendance:
    SNC: E-3, 5, 6, & 9; HM-9; T-8; R-2; M-1; Batt. Chief Della Maggiore
    Responding Members: Gundrum (relief-driver), Haag, Green
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

  10. Sept. 14, 2009: SJS - 3rd-Alarm at 15,000-sq.-ft. Retail Structure

    FASCV's 10th request of the month was from the San Jose Fire Dept. Goodwill's large, donation and retail center was burning at 3020 Alum Rock Ave. Don Gilbert answered the 3:51 A.M. page and brought Support Unit 2 to the scene. He was met by FASCV members John Whitaker and Ron Green -- who were later joined by Pete Rowe who "...just happened to be coming to the (neighboring) Orchard Supply Store and saw all the activity", to quote Pete.

    Goodwill had just opened the outlet in July to serve the City's east side residents. Before that, the building had been the home of Reed's Sporting Goods, since 1972. The first-in engine companies found the structure totally involved and the fire-fight quickly became a "surround and drown" event. Support Unit 2 served the usual early morning fare (coffee and doughnuts) to over 60 tired and wet firefighters. As the sun began to rise, FASCV also arranged for, and served, "breakfast" from a nearby fast-food restaurant. FASCV was released by the IC at approximately 11:30 A.M.

    Additional information can be found at these links: