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