Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Response to Morgan Hill

On Nov. 30 at 9:45 A.M., Santa Clara County Fire called for Fire Associates help at a 2nd-alarm fire in Morgan Hill. The fire was burning in a 4-plex apartment unit located at 18216 Hale Ave. in Morgan Hill. John Whitaker answered the call with Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by George Hoyt and Mike Chappell. Mike lives only a few blocks away from this address.

The fire started on the second floor on the 2-story townhouse. An unattended candle was apparently the cause. Adequate fire blocks in the structure kept the severe damage limited to the involved unit and minor damage occurred in one adjoining apartment. First-arriving fire crews found flames rolling out of the bedroom window and a second alarm was called almost immediately. Everyone made it out of the apartment safely and firefighters were busy on scene until the early afternoon with overhaul.

Fire Associates set up rehab on Hale Ave., just west of the fire scene. With bright blue autumn skies and little wind, Gatorade, water and Cliff Bars were in demand on an afternoon when temperatures reached into the lows 70s. Support Unit 2 was released from the scene at 12:45 P.M. and was back in quarters by 1:30 P.M.

* Photo by Natalie Everett, Morgan Hill Times

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 24, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Response for Santa Clara Fire

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 24, at 6:48 A.M., Fire Associates was paged to a fire in Santa Clara. Located at the intersection of Bowers Ave. and Kifer Rd., the fire was burning in a Carl's Jr. Restaurant. Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit 1 and was met by FASCV members Ron Green and Bob Gundrum. Jerry has submitted this report:

Date: 24 Nov. 2009
Time: 0648 Sonitrol dispatch, 0705 arrival, released at 0815.
Type: Structure fire
Size: Second alarm
Jurisdiction: City of Santa Clara
Location: 2900 Bowers Ave.

Details: Carl's Jr. Restaurant. Origin in a piece of cooking equipment, spread up into ceiling space then to mansard concealed space. Initial structural response was at about 0500. SNC Engine 9 provided three 1-3/4" hand lines and a 5" supply to an elevated master stream from SNC Truck 2.

Units in attendance:
SNC: E-3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10; T-2, 8; R-2; HM-9; Med-5; & Batt.-1

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 20, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Fire in Campbell

At 11:47 P.M. on Nov. 20, Santa Clara County Fire requested Fire Associates assistance for a 2nd-alarm fire in Campbell. The fire was burning in a 7-Eleven convenience store at 262 W. Sunnyoaks Avenue -- near the intersection with Winchester Blvd. Don Gilbert answered the call with Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by John Whitaker and Mike Chappell.

Firefighters were faced with two issues -- limited access to the structure and an extensive amount of smoke. Although called a "convenience" store, the fire was anything but. The building was located adjacent to a combination Vallero gas station/Deli -- it literally butted up against the non-involved gas station. The cinder-block wall of the gas station acted as a very-effective fire wall and kept the active fire from spreading. County Truck 1 was able to "reach" over the gas station/Deli and attack the flames from above. The front of the 7-Eleven was accessible, but a large quantity of smoke initially kept firefighters at a distance. Adding to the difficulty, CNT Engine 10 was away from its
Sunnyoaks Station on another call at the time of the fire. Sunnyoaks Station is located 2 blocks west of the incident. CNT Truck 5 was first-in and had to use its pumps for the initial hand-line attack.

With temperatures dipping into the low 40s, rehab was kept busy making many pots of coffee. Once again, cold and wet firefighters were very happy to see Fire Associates on scene. Support Unit 2 was not released until 4:00 A.M. after a long, cold Fall morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Fire in Palo Alto

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 17, Palo Alto Fire called for a 2nd-alarm response at a large condo building. Located at 360 Everett Ave., the fire apparently began on the ground floor of a 5-story complex. Jerry Haag answered the 5:15 A.M. page and responded in Fire Support Unit 1. He was met by FASCV member Ron Green. Jerry has written the following report:

Date: 17 Nov. 2009
Time: 0445 second alarm sounded, 0515 Sonitrol dispatch, 0545 arrival, released at 0715.
Type: Structure fire
Size: Second alarm
Jurisdiction: City of Palo Alto
Location: 360 Everett Ave.

Details: Five story condominium building. Fire started on a first-floor patio on the "B" side (possibly due to a barbeque), spread to a second-floor porch but was prevented from entering the second floor dwelling unit by effective fire operations and fire resistive construction on the underside of the porch. Palo Alto Engine 1 was first in with water supply provided by Menlo Engine 1 on auto-aid. The fire was quickly extinguished with minimal overhaul so auto-aid and second alarm apparatus was already being released as FS-1 arrived at the scene.

Units in attendance:
PAF: E-1, 3, 4, 6, T-6, R-2, ALS-1, B-6, IC was Acting B/C, Capt. Morris
MTV: E-1, T-1, B-18 (B/C Del Carlo)
MNL: E-1 (auto-aid)

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

November 13, 2009 -- San Jose Apt. Fire Goes to 3 Alarms

On Friday night, Nov. 13, San Jose Fire called for Fire Associates service at 12:07 A.M. An 8-plex apartment building had caught fire around 11:00 P.M. Located at 5506 Makati Circle, the fire was burning in the middle of a larger apartment development on the city's southeast side. Don Gilbert responded in Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by John Whiteside, Ron Green and John Whitaker.

The fire appeared to have started in a lower-floor apartment and then spread upwards into the top-floor of the building. Flames were through the roof as the first units arrived. There were 3 ladders flowing water at one time with plenty of hydrants for 5” hoses. Despite the tight confines, there were no access problems as driveways allowed the trucks to drive right up to the fire building. It was especially interesting to see Truck 13, one of San Jose's two new tillered aerials, navigate the small driveways with ease. Firefighters commented that the building's construction help to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the large complex. The cool fall night air meant that hot coffee was in demand at rehab.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 2, 2009 -- 3rd-Alarm Commercial Fire in San Jose

On Monday night, November 2, Fire Associates was paged for a fire burning in the Calderon Tire building. John Whiteside, who had been listening to his scanner, was already in route to get Support Unit 2 when the 10:45 P.M. page was issued. John was met on scene by FASCV members Mike Chappell, John Whitaker and Brian Woodson.

Located near the northwest corner of South First Street and Union Ave., the fire was burning tires and other garage-type material stored inside the old, brick building. Soon after arriving, San Jose Fire declared it a defensive event and hit the fire with three master-streams from Trucks 1, 3 and 4. At the height of the fire, flames were reported to be shooting 65 to 70 feet high.

Support 2 provided coffee, donuts and water to some tired firefighters on a relatively mild Fall evening. After the main blaze had been knocked down, Foam 29 was called into service to supply Truck 3 and eventually bring the fire under control. By daybreak, the cause of the fire was still under investigation.