Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fire Associates Responds to Palo Alto

Date:  23 December 2010
Time:  0845 hours
Alarm:  Second alarm.
Location: 886 Loma Verde Ave., Palo Alto

Type:  Single-family, single-story, with auto shop in rear. Exposures on all sides.

Fire Units in Attendance: 
  • PAF:  E-2, 3, 4, 5, 6; T-6; R-2; Medic 1, 2; IC: Batt. 6 (Broussard)
  • MTV:  T-1
Responding Unit:  FSU-1
Responders:  Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag, Ron Green, Bruce Dembecki and David Thompson as a guest.

-- Report submitted by:  J. Haag
-- Accompanying photo by: Bruce Dembecki

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3rd-Alarm Response for Santa Clara City Fire

Shortly after 7:00 P.M. on December 14, the Santa Clara Fire Department responded to reports of a house fire at 190 Arcadia Ave. Fire Associates member Ron Green responded with Fire Support Unit 1 and was met on scene by members Jerry Haag and Bruce Dembecki, along with Fire Associates guest Walter Huber. With light rain falling in the area, Rehab was established under the cover of our Easy-Up awnings, and grateful fire fighters appreciated the hot and cold drinks, and the snacks.

Arriving fire units discovered the house well involved and it was determined the occupants were still inside the house. The operation quickly turned into a rescue as large amounts of property inside the house created difficulties for firefighters and fuel for the fire. A second alarm was struck and eventually a third alarm for Mutual Aid to provide district coverage around Santa Clara.

Firefighters successfully affected the rescue of the house's occupants, but the extensive levels of property within the house made inside operations impossible and fueled a rapidly growing fire. The operation went defensive and firefighters worked to control the blaze from the outside, with Truck 2 providing a master stream.

The fire was contained to the house, and by around 10:00 P.M., the IC decided the best approach was to continue to contain the fire inside the house from the exterior, and make efforts in the light of day to pull apart the smoldering materials inside the house and finally extinguish the fire. Most fire units and FSU1 were released by 10:30 P.M., with a smaller contingent of fire personal remaining on scene overnight to operate fire watch.

-- Report and Photos Submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Fire Associates' Member Gets Involved in the Holidays

The following is reprinted from "Beyond the Badge", the December issue of the Sunnyvale Dept. of Public Safety's on-line newsletter:

The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety hosted its third annual Rides for Toys event on Saturday, December 11. During this free special charity event, each child who donated a new, unwrapped toy was given a ride on a Sunnyvale fire engine.

The event was a major success. DPS firefighters collected enough toys to fill up a 15 passenger van from Sunnyvale Community Services.  Len Williams, from Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley, brought his 1920's fire engine for viewing, which was a huge hit with the families.

Parents had a chance to discuss fire safety with Sunnyvale Public Safety personnel and received informational brochures. Sunnyvale firefighters presented the donated toys to Sunnyvale Community Services, One of the biggest demands this year for Community Services are toys.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The "New" FSU-3 Makes First Run

History will show that at apporoximately 6:25 P.M. on Monday, Nov. 29, Fire Support Unit 3 made its first run out of SJFD Station 35. We say that with tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is, that's what happened. The "new" FSU-3 is actually our former FSU-1 that has been renumbered and stationed at SJFD Station 35 specifically to better cover the south end of the Santa Clara Valley.

At 6:03 P.M., South County Fire called for Fire Associates' assistance at a structure fire in the Holiday Lakes Estates area of Morgan Hill. FASCV president, John Whitaker, was behind the wheel, and Bruce Dembecki was along for the trip, as FSU-3 pulled out of the station and headed down U.S. 101 for the East Dunne Ave. exit.

Once on scene at 3069 Butterfly Lane, FSU-3 was positioned just up the hill from the incident as the narrow roads in the area limited access to the fire scene. John and Bruce were joined by FASCV member Mike Chappell. As the evening turned into a cold night, one would think that hot coffee would be the beverage of choice. But, fire crews seemed to prefer Gatorade and water after a lot of hard work to get at the stubborn flames. The structure was located on a hillside above Lake Anderson and was not easily reached on the downhill side -- where most of the fire was burning!

A resident, who was at home at the time, said that she noticed "a flickering out on the deck" and went to investigate. When she got to the window, she noticed that her feet were getting warm and knew that something was not right. That was a good guess, as the fire made its way into the kitchen and living room areas by the time fire crews arrived at the remote location.

All who were on scene braved very cold temperatures, making a dinner from Jack-In-The-Box more appreciated than one might normally think. By the time FSU-3 was released, the temperature had dropped into the low 30s. FSU-3 was back in the station and ready for service by 12:15 A.M.
-- Accompanying photos by Bruce Dembecki and John Whitaker

Saturday, November 20, 2010

San Jose Opens New Station for Engine Co. 19

For the second weekend in a row, the San Jose Fire Department has held a grand opening for a new fire station. On Saturday morning, Nov. 20, the San Jose Fire Department held an open house and ribbon-cutting for their new Fire Station No. 19. The new building is located on Sierra Road at the southwest corner of Piedmont Road.

Fire Station 19 has relocated from their existing address at the corner of Piedmont Road and Penitencia Creek Road. In March 2002, the City of San Jose voters passed the Neighborhood Security Bond Act that approved the issuance of General Obligation bonds to fund the construction of public safety facilities. Fire Station 19 was one of the stations selected for relocation as part of the program to improve service delivery.

The new Fire Station 19 is a two-story, 6,049 square-foot, single-company fire station with two apparatus bays. Construction started in September 2008 and was completed over the summer.

Fire Associates President John Whitaker was in attendance on a rainy and blustery day. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the local community, as an estimated 200 people were in attendance. Included in the gathering were San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, San Jose City Council Members Kansen Chu and Ash Kalara, San Jose Fire Chief Willie McDonald, Milpitas Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant, and many members of the San Jose Fire Department senior staff. SJFD Assistant Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed acted as emcee for the event.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire Support Unit 3 Has A New Home

Fire Associates is very pleased to announce that Fire Support Unit 3 is now in service at SJFD Station 35. The custom-built, 1989 Ford F-350 is located in an apparatus bay that was designed for a future Battalion Chief. Until that assignment happens, we have been approved to occupy the space. The station's address is 135 Poughkeepsie Road - between Blossom Hill Road and Cottle Road.

This move is a milestone in the 41-year history of our organization. Now, for the very first time, we have 3 support units in front-line service at 3 different locations throughout Santa Clara County.

This has been a long process that began with the purchase of our very first brand new rig in 2009. Because that rig, a 2008 Ford F-550, is diesel-powered, it necessitated a move out of our long-time home at Station 26, to new quarters at Station 6. Station 6 had the required Nederman exhaust extraction equipment that Station 26 did not. Then, in 2010, we purchased another rig that became FSU-1, which is based in Santa Clara. The former FSU-1 then became FSU-3, and because of the Nederman requirement, it sat idle in a warehouse for a few months. Did you follow all that?

Now, within the last month, we received approval from the San Jose Fire Department to place FSU-3 into service at SJFD Station 35. The approval was made possible by the efforts of Retired Deputy Chief Dana Reed; Deputy Chief Joseph Carillo; and Apparatus Program Manager, Robert Culbertson.
  • To view photos of FSU-3 in it's new home, as well as photos of the relocation effort, go to this link:  FSU-3 at Station 35
Congratulations to all...

-- Accompanying photos by Bruce Dembecki

Saturday, November 13, 2010

San Jose Opens New Fire Station in Alum Rock Neighborhood

On Saturday morning, Nov. 13, the San Jose Fire Department held a grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting for their new Fire Station No. 2. Located at 2949 Alum Rock Ave., the station replaces one that has been on the site for 60 years. Known as "The Rock" and "Empire Station", the station is home to Engine 2, Truck and Light Unit 2, and Patrol 2.

Fire Associates members Don Gilbert and and Bruce Dembecki were in attendance on a warm, fall day. Bruce reports that they "...saw lots of old and new friends, watched them open the fire station, got a nice BBQ lunch."

To learn more about the opening, read this article from the San Jose Mercury News:  
-- Report and Photos Submitted by Bruce Dembecki

3-Alarm Fire in Sunnyvale Triggers Early-Morning Response

Date: 13 November 2010
Time: 0635 Self-dispatch on Second Alarm, 0720 Arrival, 0900 Release
Type: Structure
Size: Third alarm
Jurisdiction: Sunnyvale
Location: 1248 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road

Details:  Two-story apartment building over carport
Remarks: Fire started in first floor apartment, spread across width of apartment unit and out of both ends to floor above. Aggressive attack was successful in keeping it out of the attic especially in light of well developed fire upon arrival of first company. Approximately 10 persons displaced, one injured person transported.
Units in Attendance:
SNY: Engines 1, 10, 2, 3, 30, 4, 40, 5 and 6; Truck 2; Rescue 2; Med 8; Batt. 3
SNC: Truck 2 and one engine for station fill
MTV: One engine for station fill

Responding Members: Haag (driver), Wong, Green, Dembecki, Hoyt and David Thompson (guest)
Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1
-- Report Submitted By: Jerry Haag
-- Accompanying Photo By: Bruce Dembecki

Friday, November 12, 2010

2-Alarm Carport Fire In Santa Clara

Date: 12 November 2010
Time: 0227 Sonitrol page, 0315 Arrival, 0430 Release
Type: Structure
Size: Second alarm
Jurisdiction: Santa Clara
Location: 3341 Monroe St.

Details:  Open-air, detached carport. 6 cars destroyed or damaged.
Units in Attendance: Engines 1, 5 and 9; Truck 2; Rescue 2; Batt. 1 (Dellamaggiore [IC])
Remarks: Engine 9 first in, followed closely by Engine 5. Each established own water supply and each pulled a 2-1/2" and a 1-3/4" attack line, E-9 on the Monroe street side and E-5 on the Marchese Way side. Engine 1 and other units were released before arrival of FSU-1.

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

-- Report Submitted by: J. Haag

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Level 2 Hazmat Response in San Jose

Date: 10 November 2010
Time: 1429 Sonitrol page, 1520 Arrival, 1546 Release
Type: Structure
Size: Level 2 HazMat and MPMP Activation Level 2
Jurisdiction: San Jose
Location: 1080 S. De Anza Blvd.

Details: Chlorine release at DACA Swim School
Units in Attendance: Both SJS HIT 29 and CNT HM 2 and attending apparatus responded plus many AMR units.
Remarks: 15 patients transported

Responding Members: Haag (driver), Dembecki, Chappell, Hoyt and Wong
Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1
-- Report Submitted by: Jerry Haag
-- Accompanying Photo by: Bruce Dembecki

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2-Alarm Restaurant Fire Leads to Response in Sunnyvale

Date:  02 November 2010
Time:  0317 Sonitrol page (initiated by Gundrum); 0645 Release
Type:  Structure
Size:  2 alarms with special call for MTV to provide two engines for station fill.
Jurisdiction:  Sunnyvale
Location:  190 W. Washington St.

Details:  Multi-occupancy, two-story, mercantile building; main occupant a restaurant.
Remarks:  Engine 1 first in. Fire in the ceiling/attic of second floor utility room. Pulled one 2-1/2" and three 1-3/4" handlines and laid two 5" water supply lines. A 5" line was deployed from the intake manifold of E-1 and supplied intake of T-2 (a quint) on the "A" side. Ladder pipe was not used. T-1 set up on the "B" side and raised its stick as well. Fire proved hard to find and harder to reach with water. Building is restorable.

SNY Units in Attendance: Engines-1, 2, 3, 4, 40, 60; Trucks-1, 2; R-2 and Med. 8. IC was Third Batt. Chief Pitts.
Responding Members:  Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag and Len Williams
Fire Support Unit Responding:  FSU-1

-- Report Submitted by:  Jerry Haag
-- Accompanying Photo by David Thompson


Monday, November 1, 2010

Early Morning 4-Alarm Industrial Fire in San Jose

Date:  01 November 2010
Time:  0309 Sonitrol page; 0730 Release
Type:  Structure
Size:  4 Alarms
Jurisdiction:  San Jose
Location:  1030 N. 10th St.

Details:  Three, Single-story, Non-sprinklered Industrial Buildings
Remarks:  Engine 5 first in. Fire in the rear of 1030 N. 10th St. had spread to buildings on either side. Pulled two 2-1/2" and two 1-3/4" handlines and laid own water supply line. As response progressed, two aerial ladders were used on the "A" side (T-29 and T-2) and one on the "C" side (T-1). Occupancies were Premium Plating at 1026 N. 10th St., El Savoy Club at 1030 N. 10th St. and San Jose Metals at 1032 N. 10th St.

SJS Units in Attendance:  Engines-5, 6; Trucks-1, 2, 29; and others. IC was Batt. Chief Cabral
Responding Members:  Don Gilbert (driver), Jerry Haag, Bruce Dembecki, Dan Wong and Mike Chappell
Fire Support Unit Responding:  FSU-2

    -- Report Submitted by:  J. Haag
    -- Accompanying Photo by:  Bruce Dembecki

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Cal Fire Calls for Rehab Support in North Morgan Hill

    Date:  26 October 2010
    Time:  17:27 Initial Request
    Type:  Vegetation Fire
    Size:  Guessed at 2 alarm level.
    Jurisdiction:  Cal Fire
    Location:  Initially, San Bruno Ave., off Santa Teresa Blvd. with Rehab later set up off dirt trail accessed via Willow Springs Rd.

    Initial Cal Fire incident dispatch was 16:47 hrs. More than a dozen engines and water tenders were dispatched along with 2 dozers, 2 hand crews, 2 copters, 2 air tankers and 1 Air attack. Staging was Santa Teresa Blvd. at San Bruno Ave.  Access was changed to Willow Springs Rd. just west of Santa Teresa. Total acreage was 13 acres, as mapped by Air Attack 460.

    Incident Commander requested "Rehab" and within a minute or so, at 17:27 hrs, John Whiteside received a call from Cal Fire’s Morgan Hill Emergency Command Center asking for rehab assistance. During that phone conversation, it was agreed that Fire Associates was the best choice rather than John responding as a Cal Fire VIP volunteer to Morgan Hill to collect necessary supplies. John left SJFD Station 6 with FSU-2 at 18:11. At the scene, John was directed by Battalion 1613 to drive up a trail that a dozer and the engines had made. A half-mile later, over steep and very bumpy terrain, John reached the scene atop the Santa Teresa hills, with a spectacular view from San Jose down to Gilroy. It was a crisp, cool, windy location.  John was met by Don Gilbert, John Whitaker and Mike Chappell (who had cases of Gatorade and water in his van), who all followed FSU-2 up the hill in their POVs. Quite a test for our usual road vehicles up and down a narrow trail, with steep grades, in the dark!!!

    FSU-2 was released some time after 22:00 and went to a local Morgan Hill restaurant for meals arranged by Cal Fire, joining released engine crews for some late dinner and good conversation.
    • 3D Map view of Rehab location up the ridge off Willow Springs Rd.:  3D Map
    -- Report Submitted by John Whiteside
    -- Accompanying Photo by John Whitaker

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    October 21, 2010 -- Special Call for San Jose Gas Leak

    At 10:57 A.M. on Thursday morning, Fire Associates was alerted by the San Jose Fire Dept. to stand by for a possible response to a gas leak near downtown. And, at 11:41 A.M. the request came in. Bruce Dembecki responded in Fire Support Unit 2 while FASCV President, John Whitaker, went to a nearby restaurant to pick up a lunchtime food order. They were met on scene by FASCV members George Hoyt, Herman DeKruyff, Ron Green, Dan Wong and Bob Gundrum.

    Leaking natural gas had been detected seeping from underground in the street outside San Jose Unified's Gardner Academy. With the leak detected at 722 Willis Ave., near West Virginia Street, the incident was adjacent to the school property. Once on scene, FSU-2 was set up on W. Virginia Street and prepared to serve 45 burritos that had been ordered for the firefighters. The lunch order arrived just as PG&E pinched off the 2-inch gas line. Firefighters remained on scene to finish their meal, and then were placed in service shortly after 1:00 P.M.
    -- Accompanying photo by Bruce Dembecki

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    October 19, 2010 -- Tier 3 Grass Fire in San Jose's East Foothills

    On a warm, fall afternoon, the San Jose Fire Dept. called for Fire Associates at approximately 2:25 P.M. A grass fire was burning up slope on Clayton Rd., near the intersection with Mt. Hamilton Rd. In a rare, two-unit response, John Whiteside came to the incident with Fire Support Unit 2 while Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 3. Don happened to be at Len Williams' warehouse doing some mechanical work on FSU-3 at the time of the call. With the equivalent of 3 alarms of SJS equipment coming to the scene, and a dual response with Cal Fire, it made sense to have two support units on scene.

    Operations were quickly established at both the top and bottom of the hillside. While fire lines were established to knock down the head of the fire, Cal Fire air tankers made drops on the left and right flanks of the fire to keep it from spreading. Don Gilbert and John Whitaker responded to the top of the hill to take care of fire crews there, while John Whiteside and George Hoyt established a Rehab site at the origination point of the fire to support the IC and firefighters doing mop-up work there.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    October 18, 2010 -- San Jose Calls for Two Hazmat Responses

    1st Call -
    Overturned Tanker Truck

    At 4:30 P.M. on Monday, October 18, Fire Associates received a special request from the San Jose Fire Department. They were on the scene of an overturned tanker truck on Highway 101 near Morgan Hill. Assistance from FASCV was requested as they were anticipating an extended operation. Bruce Dembecki responded from Station 6 in Fire Support Unit 2 with FASCV member John Whiteside. Bruce and John were met on scene by FASCV members Mike Chappell and George Hoyt.

    FSU-2 arrived just as the CHP had arranged for the heavy duty tow trucks to shove the overturned tanker onto the side of the road, opening up more lanes of traffic for the afternoon commute. From there, the plan was to wait for the environmental clean up company to arrive and supervise the transfer of the 160-degree molten wax inside the tanker to an empty tanker waiting nearby.

    George made a Subway sandwich run and we organized 30 meals on scene for the fire crews. Both hot and cold drinks were popular as the sun set and the night air showed signs of a Fall cool down.

    Several hours later, clean up crews arrived on scene and worked with the Fire Department to setup a transfer between the overturned tanker and the standby tanker. With everyone fed and watered, we were packing up and wax was flowing between the tankers when at 22:40 "101 IC" (Battalion 29) released HIT 29, Truck 29 and Fire Support Unit 2 to respond to another Hazmat incident on the other side of San Jose with the Santa Clara County Fire Hazmat crew already on scene.
    -- Photo and report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

    2nd Response -
    Alviso Hotel Incident

    While dealing with an overturned Tanker near Morgan Hill, the San Jose Fire Dept. was juggling another Hazmat incident in the Alvisio neighborhood, north of the City. As the incident began, Fire Support Unit 2 was with San Jose's HIT units in South San Jose. However, help was requested by Santa Clara County Fire's Hazmat group to deal with the incident. Once County Fire arrived on scene, it was decided they would make a Hazmat entry into the facility (Extended Stay America Hotel) to investigate the situation.

    So, as the Tanker incident was wrapping up, Battalion 29 released the HIT team along with Truck 29 and Fire Support Unit 2 and asked all three units to respond to the incident in Alvisio.  B29 promised to let us know when she arrived if we were not needed, and FASCV members Bruce Dembecki and John Whiteside headed north.

    While Fire Support 2 was en-route, the County team entered the hotel and conducted their initial investigation. As FSU2 arrived on scene, the County team was exiting the facility and reporting that there was an all clear in the facility and the incident was over. Bruce and John headed back to Station 6 and were back in quarters before midnight.

    -- Photo and report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    October 14, 2010 -- Full First Alarm Response in Milpitas

    Date: 14 October 2010
    Time: 0629 Sonitrol page, 0830 Release
    Type: Structure
    Size: Special Call on Full First
    Jurisdiction: Milpitas
    Location: 133 N. Temple Dr.

    Details: Two-story, wood-frame apartment building
    Remarks: Engine 2 first in. Pulled 2-1/2" wyed to two standpipe packs and a 1-3/4" hand-line and laid own water supply line. Fire, that started on a cooktop in a second floor kitchen, spread quickly to cabinets above. Roof needed to be opened for ventilation. Effective interior attack saved other units in the building. Jerry Haag and Bob Gundrum coordinated their response by ham radio.

    MLP Units in Attendance: Engines-1,2,3; Truck-1; USAR-1. IC was Captain Vaughn.
    Responding Members: Gundrum (driver), Haag, Herman De Kruyff, John Whitaker, Ron Green and Dan Wong
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

    -- Submitted by J. Haag

    October 13, 2010 -- Special Call On Hot Evening In Sunnyvale

    Date: 13 October 2010
    Time: 1701 Initial dispatch, 1759 Sonitrol Page, 1835 Arrival, 2030 Release
    Type: Structure
    Size: Second Alarm
    Jurisdiction: Sunnyvale
    Location: 1069 Robin Way

    Details: Small Single-story, Single-family dwelling.

    Remarks: Engine 3 first in. Pulled three hand-lines and laid own water supply line. Fire, that started in the rear of the garage, quickly spread to attic space and roof. Effective interior attack saved most of the building.
    It was a hot evening. Bob Gundrum initiated a voluntary response in own vehicle and provided hydration from stocks carried thereon. Seeing stocks being quickly depleted, he contacted Jerry Haag via ham radio, and requested that FSU-1 on be brought to the fire. Speeding up the process was the fact that Jerry was already en route to the fire. Page was also initiated by Gundrum.

    SNY Units in Attendance: Engines-1, 2, 3, 30, 4; Truck-1; Rescue-2; Med-8. IC was Irizirry.
    Responding Members: Haag (driver), Gundrum, Len Williams, Herman De Kruyff, and David Thompson (Guest).
    Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1
    -- Submitted by J. Haag
    -- Accompanying photo by David Thompson

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    October 9, 2010 -- Multiple-alarm Response for San Jose Fire Department

    On Saturday evening, October 9, SJFD firefighters went to a 4-alarm fire located at Wooster Ave. and Eggo Way. John Whiteside responded in Fire Support Unit 2 and was joined by FASCV members George Hoyt, Ron Green, Mike Chappell and John Whitaker (with Liz). John Whiteside has provided this report:

    This event threatened the Kellogg's Eggo waffle plant located next to Hwy. 101, just north of McKee/Julian near the railroad overpass and next to a commercial radio station. The Eggo production run had to be scrapped due to smoke contamination of the equipment and products. The plant formerly was known as Mrs. Smith’s Pies, I am told.

    The call came in approx 1700 hrs. with a report of car fire/rescue on the highway. No car was found but a grass fire was spreading. So, in addition to a rescue response (1 alarm), a Tier was requested (another alarm) and soon the radio transmitter building (5,000 sq. ft.) was afire and it went to 2 alarms (now totaling 4 alarms). This is per the Incident Commander, who confirmed the incident totaled 4 alarms. FASCV handled 70 meals on scene and lighting for the CP and Rehab. The vegetation fire was 5 acres. Police "Air 2" helicopter videoed the scene and transmitted data to Dispatch, and used IR to locate hot spots.

    This was a voluntary response for FASCV. Listening to the radio traffic and realizing the extent, I called Dispatch about 1815 and asked if they wanted a FSU. The IC said, "Yes", so I called our answering service. I arrived on scene with FSU-2 at about 1840, after avoiding traffic backups. Fire units were special-called throughout the evening. The building just wouldn’t be extinguished. There were multiple 5-inch hose lays that had to be run around and to the backside of the large Kellogg's facility to supply the aerials -- totally defensive; one was 1,200+ feet and additional engines had to be called to make the hose runs. Even as we left in the early morning hours, smoke was still showing and new units were arriving. FASCV was released at 0045 on Sunday, Oct. 10.

    All 5 SJFD BCs were on scene, so Santa Clara County and City of Santa Clara Fire Departments sent BCs and engines to cover SJ stations.
    • Craig Allyn Rose's photos can be viewed at:  Eggo Fire
      -- Submitted by John Whiteside
      -- Accompanying photo by Craig Allyn Rose


      Thursday, October 7, 2010

      October 6, 2010 -- Sunnyvale Calls for "All Hands" Response

      Date: 06 October 2010
      Time: 0417 Sonitrol page), 0445 Arrival, 0730 Release
      Type: Structure
      Size: Special Call for an All-Hands First Alarm
      Jurisdiction: Sunnyvale
      Location: 1085 Fairwood St.

      Details: Small, unoccupied, single-story, single-family dwelling.

      Responding Members: Jerry Haag (driver), Ron Green, and Dan Wong.
      Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

      Remarks: Building was under remodeling. Engine 6 first in. Pulled three handlines and laid own water supply line. Supplied large diameter line to Truck 2 which briefly operated an elevated master stream while ground companies vacated the building. Companies went back in and completed extinguishment. Building is probably repairable.

      SNY Units in Attendance: Engines-2, 3, 6, 60; Truck-2; Rescue-2; Med-7.

      -- Submitted by J. Haag

      Sunday, October 3, 2010

      October 3, 2010 -- 3-Alarm Fire Causes Response for Santa Clara City Fire

      On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 3, the Santa Clara City Fire Dept. called for Fire Associates' assistance at a 3-alarm fire. Bob Gundrum responded in Fire Support Unit 1 to the location at 535 Saratoga Ave. Bob has submitted the following report:

      Date: 3 October 2010
      Time:  1251 Hrs - 2nd alarm struck, 1320 Hrs - On scene, 1535 Hrs - Released
      Type:  Structure Fire
      Level: Third Alarm (for city coverage)
      Jurisdiction:  Santa Clara City
      Location:  535 Saratoga Ave.

      Details:  Saratoga Manor Apartments; 16-unit apartment (w/shake shingle roof).

      Responding Apparatus:
      SNC: E-4 (8 lines connected - 7 lines pumped at front), E-9 (1 line pumped at rear); E-1, 3, 6, 7, 10; R-2 (as HM9); T-2, 10; Batt. 1 (Capt. McDowell)
      Responding Members: Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag, George Hoyt, Ron Green. Bruce Dembecki and Len Williams
      Fire Support Unit Responding:  FSU-1

      Remarks:  Appeared to be an attic fire on the 2nd floor, "D" side.  Severe water/smoke damage to units on 1st floor.  Exposure on the "D" side had a composition roof, there was minor damage from radiant heat exposure - melted plastic lamp covers, cracked & broken glass, blistered paint, & scorched vegetation, but no fire extension.
      -- Submitted by: B. Gundrum
      -- Accompanying photos by Bruce Dembecki


      October 3, 2010 -- Special Call for 2-alarm San Jose Fire

      At 10:56 A.M., on Sunday, Oct. 3, the San Jose Fire Dept. called for FASCV help at an apartment fire in the Almaden Valley. Located at 5757 Via Monte Drive, just west of Almaden Expressway, the fire was burning in a 2-story apartment complex. Bruce Dembecki responded in Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by John Whiteside, John Whitaker, George Hoyt and Don Gilbert.

      The fire call was unique because of "who" called in to report the blaze. Two, off-duty San Jose firefighters were in the area, saw the smoke and "called it in" before racing to assist the occupants. Support Unit 2 was called in to assist with the Rehab area and prepare to serve meals. Besides the usual warm-weather beverages, burritos were appreciated by all who partook in the noon-time meal. One firefighter was injured when he fell through a weakened floor and a resident was transported for chest pains after the incident was under control.

      The Support Unit was released from the incident at 3:00 P.M.

            October 2, 2010 -- 2-Alarm Response for San Jose Hazmat Incident

            A little before 6:00 P.M. on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 2, Fire Associates received a request from the San Jose Fire Dept. as a result of a Hazmat incident they were working downtown. FASCV member Bruce Dembecki took Fire Support Unit 2 and reported to the scene at 6:15 P.M., where he was met by FASCV members Herman De Kruyff and Don Gilbert. The incident involved over a thousand gallons of diesel fuel for generators being released from the roof of the AT&T building at 95 S. Almaden Ave., pouring down the side of the building and into the storm drains, which lead to the nearby Guadalupe River.

            The operation was destined to be an extended one, and the situation was complicated by the fact that the fire truck-lined street was due to be the hub of activity at Sunday's "Rock & Roll Marathon", which resulted in some time pressures on Fire Department officials. Marathon preparations however did make it easier for Fire Associates, who had ready access to tables, tents and porta potties, as a result.

            Incident Commander, B/C Kevin Conant, divided his teams into two divisions -- one to go floor-to-floor in the AT&T building measuring contaminants and working on the overflowed material on the roof, the other working on blocking the river with booms and preventing further escape of diesel fuel into the river system.

            Fire Support Unit 2 set up a Rehab station and coordinated with the SJFD to provide meals to the teams working the incident. Meals arrived on scene and Operations Chief Andersen set about rotating the crews through Rehab. This was an unusual event for Fire Associates, as it marks one of the rare occasions (if not the first time) we have provided canteen services to an active United States Coast Guard crew. Also served this evening were representatives from State Fish & Game, City Park Rangers, a large contingent of San Jose Police, Santa Clara County Fire's Hazmat Task Force and, of course, the SJFD crews.

            The operation lasted overnight and into the morning and into the morning hours with one priority being the river system, and another being the clearing of the roadway to be ready for the early-morning start of the Rock & Roll Marathon. Fire Associates served meals and set up the an "Air Pot" of coffee to serve the IC through the night, before being released right around 10:00 P.M.
            -- Accompanying Photos by Bruce Dembecki

            Thursday, September 30, 2010

            September 30 -- 2-Alarm House Fire in Campbell

            At 2:50 P.M., on Thursday, Sept. 30, Santa Clara County Fire responded Engine 11 to reports of "Smoke in the area" near Bascom and Campbell Avenues. This led to reports of a house on fire a few minutes later at 74 Decorah Lane. Engine 11 arrived on the scene of a two-story residence with smoke and flames shooting through the roof. By 3:15, County B/C 2, Chief Miller, and B/C 3, Chief Parker, had called for a 2nd alarm response, resulting in a page out for Fire Associates a few minutes later.

            Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by FASCV member Cliff Smith who had arrived at the same time as Engine 11. During the first couple of hours, FASCV served large quantities of water and Gatorade and we went through 12 bags of ice on a warm, summer-like afternoon. More ice was delivered early in the evening as the event went on.

            The fire caused a partial roof collapse inside the structure, and it took about an hour before the scene was declared under control. The scene was further complicated by the discovery of some drums and barrels containing unknown substances on the side of the house, and piles of debris around the apparent source of the fire, which needed to be pulled apart. After two hours, the second alarm units were released, while new units were called in to handle the hazmat issue.

            Ultimately, the scene was left in the hands of the fire and police investigators, and the decision was made to board up the house and complete the investigation the next day, in good light. Fire Support Unit 2 was released at 19:44 and returned to quarters.
            -- Submitted by Bruce Dembecki

            September 29, 2010 - Tier 2 Response for San Jose Grass Fire

            On Wednesday afternoon, Fire Associates responded to a Tier 2 grass fire burning along Malech Rd. at the south end of the Santa Clara Valley.  John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 and was joined on scene by Mike Chappell and George Hoyt on another very-hot, early-autumn day. John has submitted the following report:

            This fire resulted in a SJS Tier 2 dispatch plus a full Cal Fire response with a tanker drop or two. Incident was located near Malech Rd., north of Bailey Ave., south of Metcalf Rd. and east of Hwy 101.  Total of 17 acres.

            Since it was only a Tier 2 fire, I called SJS Dispatch based on the high temperature and they said, "GO!" When I called our answering service, they said San Jose had just called them for us to respond. As I was arriving at Station 6, I got a page from Cal Fire and they also wanted us to respond. Turned out to be a Cal Fire responsibility. Almost all the Cal Fire units stopped by our Rehab for drinks and Clif Bars. One camp-crew inmate was transported due to heat exhaustion; he had not eaten all day! We received many thanks for coming.
            -- Photo from SJ Mercury News by R Wesley Van Osdol

            September 26, 2010 -- Special Request for San Jose Hazmat Incident

            On a very hot Sunday afternoon, September 26, Fire Associates was called by the San Jose Fire Department to a Hazmat incident on the City's north side. Located at 2118 Zanker Road, employees of a bathtub refinishing business reported an unfamiliar odor coming from their building's warehouse. Responding to the special call for assistance in Fire Support Unit 1 were Bob Gundrum and Jerry Haag. Jerry has submitteded the following report:

            Date: 27 September 2010
            Time: 1602 (Sonitrol page), 1645 Arrival, 1830 Release
            Type: HazMat Incident
            Size: Special Call
            Jurisdiction: San Jose
            Location: 2118 Zanker Road

            Details:  Large industrial building. Reported as strong smell of gas. Turned out to be sewer gas. Fire Associates requested because of the excessively hot afternoon with temperatures above the 90-degree mark.

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

            Submitted by: J. Haag 

            September 25 -- 3rd-Alarm House Fire In San Jose

            Early Saturday morning, Sept. 25, the San Jose Fire Dept. called for assistance from Fire Associates. The three-alarm fire was burning at 1475 Newport Ave. in the City's Willow Glen neighborhood. Bruce Dembecki and Don Gilbert responded to Station 6 and had Fire Support Unit 2 out the door by 12:55 A.M.  for the "long" journey to the fire ground. After an eventful trip (where somehow the team didn't get lost on the way), Support Unit 2 went on scene at 12:56 A.M. They were joined on scene by FASCV members John Whitaker, Herman De Kruyff, Dan Wong and Mike Chappell. Bruce has submitted the following report:

            When on scene, we were ultimately directed to establish Rehab four houses north of the fire house, and together with AMR and the crew of Engine 7, full rehab with medical monitoring was established under the command of Med 30. In addition to our normal Rehab duties, FASCV members were also involved in moving 300 feet of 5" hose lay and setting up the SJFD porta potty trailer when it arrived on the back of Battalion 29, or as one fire department staffer jokingly called the B/C buggy, "Potty 29".

            The fire struck at the rear of a large two story Victorian style house. First unit "on scene" was SJPD's Air 2, reporting the blaze from above and directing Engine 6 into the fire scene. Upon arrival, Engine 6 called for a second alarm, declaring that the rear of the building was fully engulfed, with fire in the basement, first and second floors, and shooting through the roof (which is surely what initially got Air 2's attention). With elapsed time at less than 30 minutes, Incident Commander, B/C 1 Garry Galasso, called for a third alarm. The fire appeared to have originated at a shed at the rear of the property, with the cause still under investigation.

            After establishing several Aerial master streams to reduce the heat and flames, what was left was the remains of a 4,000-square-foot house with small spot fires spread throughout. A considerable effort was put on exposure protection and ember patrols, to ensure that no other nearby properties were impacted. Power wires were down and PG&E ultimately disconnected power to the entire area to facilitate fire department ladder operations. The fire was a three-alarm response from San Jose Fire, with additional Mutual Aid resources from County being called up on to provide station coverage.

            Ultimately, it was decided that an ongoing fire fighting effort would be needed to monitor the three levels of the building and pick off fires as they sprung up. The fire was contained rather than defeated, with the bulk of the crews being released around 3:30am and after packing up FSU 2 arrived back in quarters at 04:00. Fire watch consisting of an engine and a truck remained on scene throughout the day to deal with the fire inside the structure, and as of the time of writing this report replacement fire watch crews were being dispatched to continue these efforts through at least 16:30.

            Wednesday, September 22, 2010

            Former Support Unit Donated to San Jose Fire Museum

            FASCV Fleet Manager Don Gilbert (left) hands over
            the keys to Fire Support Unit to San Jose Fire Museum
            Fleet Manager
            , Randy Perez

            On Wednesday, September 22, Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley presented our former Fire Support Unit 3 to the San Jose Fire Museum. The vehicle, most recently used as a reserve Rehab support unit, is a 1981 Dodge Power Ram that was originally a San Jose Fire Department brush patrol. It was donated to Fire Associates by the San Jose Fire Department and has been used as a Fire Support Unit since 2003.

            The museum has had their eye on this vehicle for some time. Now, it will become the first and only Brush Patrol in the San Jose Fire Museum's collection. There are a couple of pieces that need to be reinstalled on the rig to make it original, including the hose reel and the red lightbar lenses. Fortunately, Fire Associates held on to the equipment when we modified it to function as a support unit. Fire Associates was able to provide all that equipment back to the Fire Museum.

            Work began on Monday to transition equipment and supplies between the former FSU-3 and the Ford F-350 that will now become the current Fire Support Unit 3. Helping facilitate the changeover was FASCV Fleet Manager, Don Gilbert, as well as FASCV members John Whitaker, Bruce Dembecki and Mike Chappel. Lending a hand with the "heavy lifting", were San Jose Fire Museum Fleet Manager, Randy Perez, and SJFM member, Phil Reggiardo. For Rehab power supply purposes, a Honda 5000W generator had been installed in place of the brush patrol's hose reel. During the changeover operation, the generator had to be lifted out of the hose bay and be replaced with the original hose reel.

            For the time being, the current FSU-3 will be housed in a warehouse on Quinn Ave. in San Jose. Because it is a diesel rig, it cannot be stored in it's former "home", San Jose Fire Station 26. The station has three full apparatus bays so no spare exhaust extraction equipment is available. SJFD health regulations prevent a diesel-powered rig from being stored in an apparatus bay attached to living quarters without exhaust extraction equipment.
            • Photos of the changeover process can be viewed at this link:  FSU-3 Changeover

            Saturday, September 18, 2010

            September 17, 2010 -- 2-Alarm Response for Fire In Palo Alto

            On Friday morning, Sept. 17, at 7:42 A.M., Fire Associates responded to a 2-alarm fire in Palo Alto. A large, 2-story home was burning at 1000 University Ave. Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit 1 and has submitted this report:

            Date: 17 September 2010
            Time: 0715 dispatch of Full Structural Response on report of smoke in a dwelling.
                     0730 Second alarm
                     0742 Sonitrol page
                     (req. by Haag enroute to SNC Sta. 9)
                     0825 Arrival
                     1200 Release
            Type: Structure Fire
            Size: Second alarm
            Jurisdiction: Palo Alto
            Location: 1000 University Ave.

            Details: Fire in large, two-story, single-family, frame dwelling. Heritage Building constructed in 1901. Heavy fire on second floor and attic when first engine arrived. Three elderly adults displaced.

            Units Present:
            PAF:  IC-Batt. 6 (Bonfiglio); E-1, 3, 4, 6; T-6; R-2; Medic-1
            MTV:  T-1
            MNL:  T-1
            CNT:  Batt. 14

            Responding Members: Haag (driver), Dan Wong, Ron Green and Herman De Kruyff.
            Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1
            Remarks: A trifecta of quints , each operating an elevated master stream at a corner of the building.

            Accompanying Photos by:  Dan Wong

            Monday, September 13, 2010

            September 7, 2010 -- 3rd Alarm Response in Santa Clara

            At 6:30 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 8, Fire Associates responded to a 3rd-alarm fire in the City of Santa Clara. Responding in Support Unit 1 was Bob Gundrum. Bob has issued the following report:

            Date:  07 September 2010
            Time: 1832 Hrs - dispatched by Sonitrol
            Type: Structure Fire - 2 story, 8 unit occupancy
            Alarm Level:  3rd alarm (for city coverage)
            Jurisdiction:  City of Santa Clara
            Location:  856 Monroe

            Details: Fire in the 2nd story, of multiple occupancy (8 unit <4 per floor>).  Structure was perpendicular to the street with fire in 3rd unit from street.  Upon arrival two columns of heavy black smoke were seen rising from both "B" & "D" sides of structure.  Smoke was along complete balcony approximately 5' above floor.  Upon arrival at involved unit, about 1/3 of front door had been burned through.  All other units on 2nd floor appeared to be vacant.  Fire did enter attic, where it was held in check by fire stops.

            Responding Members: Gundrum (Driver), Wagner, Haag and Whitaker.

            Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU #1

            Remarks:  FSU #1 was approximately 4 blocks from scene when SNC Fire Dispatch advised we had been cancelled by IC.  We continued to scene and exhausted one ice chest of water & Gatorade plus 1/2 box (12 Cliff Bars).  So much for being cancelled!!!!! At one point, until 3rd alarm was struck, E-9 was the only SNC unit in the city not on assignment.

            Submitted by:  B. Gundrum

            Wednesday, September 8, 2010

            September 8, 2010 -- 2-Alarm Response for Gilroy Fire

            On Wedensday, Sept. 8, Fire Support Unit 2 responded to a 2-alarm fire at Gilroy Foods at 1350 Pacheco Pass Highway in Gilroy. Bruce Dembecki took FSU 2 and picked up John Whiteside en route, Upon arrival, the Support Unit was met by FASCV members Mike Chappell, Herman De Kruyff, Ron Green and Dan Wong. FASCV was directed to setup rehab by the entrance to the fire building inside the complex. Cold drinks and coffee both were popular on a surprisingly overcast day for September, and we went through 4 dozen donuts while on scene, with Gilroy taking a dozen back to their HQ and the remaining dozen to Morgan Hill for the Cal Fire Operations Center on our way back to the City.

            The fire had originated in one of the ovens used to dry garlic and onion, and caused some disruption to one part of the factory. Initially, there was a lot of heat and smoke in the building, but by the time Fire Associates was on scene, the bulk of the activity was an extensive overhaul operation. Other parts of the factory continued to operate. There was a secondary problem with water from firefighting efforts on the factory floor, and when firefighters left, the sprinkler system in that building had been deactivated.

            During the incident, one firefighter was taken to hospital, with vitals spiking during a Rehab check.

            Gilroy Fire responded all three of their engines, with additional support from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Cal Fire and Santa Clara County Fire all on scene, and additional County and Cal Fire resources providing Station Coverage (and ultimately a multi-engine response to a grass fire at another location in Gilroy).

            Sunday, September 5, 2010

            September 4, 2010 -- Voluntary FASCV Response in Sunnyvale

            At 1:45 P.M. on Saturday, Sept. 4, the Sunnyvale Public Safety Dept. dispatched a full response for a structure fire. Bob Gundrum and Jerry Haag voluntarily responded in their private vehicles to assist with Rehab services. They were joined by FASCV members Dan Wong, Ron Green and guest David Thompson. Jerry has submitted the following report:

            Date: 04 September 2010
            Time: 1345 dispatch of Full Structural Response.
            Type: Structure Fire
            Size: First alarm
            Jurisdiction: Sunnyvale
            Location: 960 Planetree Place

            Details: Fire in one-story, single-family, dwelling. Heavily involved when Engine 4 arrived from just around the corner. Exposure on the B side. Held to building of origin. Structure saved. Two adults and two children  displaced.

            Responding Members: Voluntary response by Gundrum and Haag, joined later by Wong and Green. David (guest) also in attendance.

            Fire Support Unit Responding: None. Hydration services by Gundrum from POV, Haag provided ice.

            Remarks: None

            -- Accompanying Photo by Dan Wong

            Saturday, September 4, 2010

            September 2, 2010 -- Tier 2 Grass Fire in San Jose

            At approximately 3:00 P.M. on Thursday, Sept. 2, Fire Associates responded to a Tier 2 grass fire in San Jose's east foothills. Burning near the intersection of Clayton Rd. and Fall Ave., the fire quickly raced up a hillside and was threatening homes in it's path. John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by FASCV members George Hoyt and John Whitaker.

            San Jose Fire sent a full Tier 2 response for structure protection and asked for Cal Fire assistance. Since temperatures were well above 90 degrees, Cal Fire was at a high response level and sent multiple type-3 engines as well 2 air tankers and Copter 106. The heavy air support was credited as keeping the burned are at only 7.5 acres on a day when the potential for much more was very high.

            Support Unit 2 set up at the command post near Clayton Rd. and Marten Ave. From here, FASCV could function as a central area for rehab and rehydration, while Med 30 delivered bottled water and Gatorade on the perimeter of the fire. All San Jose units were instructed to pass through Rehab to rehydrate before going back into service. This rehab plan meant that at the height of the fire, FASCV did not have much "business". But, as things wound down, the Rehab area got very busy.

            Complicating maters, was that this was also the day of FASCV's September Monthly Meeting in Mountain View. John Whitaker left the scene early so that he could get to the meeting on time. Cal Fire had asked FASCV to stay until its conclusion to service their handcrews. So, John Whiteside remained on scene to provide service, but he was able to make the meeting by traveling to Mountain View in the support unit. Since Support Unit 1 was already going to be "on display" for the Mountain View firefighters, that meant that they got a double-dose of Fire Associates' vehicles.

            Thursday, September 2, 2010

            September 1, 2010 -- 2nd-Alarm Response for San Jose Fire Department

            The first day of September began for Fire Associates the way the month of August ended. FIRE! Since Aug. 22, FASCV has responded to 7 calls for assistance. This day was no different as we responded to fire number 8 in the two-week period.

            Shortly after 1:00 P.M. on Sept. 1st, John Whiteside responded in Support Unit 2 to a fire near downtown San Jose. John was joined by FASCV member Bruce Dembecki and Bob Gundrum. Located at 160 N. 4th Street (near E. St. James St.), a fire had apparently started in a dumpster and spread up the outside of the single-story, Victorian home and into the attic space. Because of the fire's close proximity to a high-rise building, a multiple-alarm dispatch was called.

            FSU 2 provided cold lemonade, Gatorade and Clif Bars to fire crews who had been fighting the fire in very hot summer temperatures.
            -- Accompanying Photos by Bruce Dembecki

              Saturday, August 28, 2010

              August 27, 2010 -- 2nd-Alarm Fire in City of Santa Clara

              At 5:25 A.M. on Friday August 27, Santa Clara City Fire called for Fire Associates help. Jerry Haag responded in Support Unit 1 and was met on scene by Dan Wong. Jerry has provided this report:

              Date: 27 August 2010
              Time: 0525 dispatch, 0605 arrival, released at 0730.
              Type: Structure Fire
              Size: Second alarm
              Jurisdiction: Santa Clara
              Location: 1707 Andrea Place

              Details: Fire in two-story, single-family, dwelling. Held to bedroom of origin. Four persons displaced.

              Responding Members: Haag (driver), Wong

              Fire Support Unit Responding: FSU-1

              -- Accompanying photos by Dan Wong