Friday, December 30, 2011

"The Embers" Typo Corrected Here

There was an error in our January 2012 edition of The Embers newsletter. A typo appeared in the RSVP contact e-mail address for the Santa Clara County Fire Dept. firefighters retirement dinner. To make certain that you get all the correct information, the article has been reprinted here, in its entirety:
IAFF Local 1165, Santa Clara County Firefighters, is holding a retirement dinner on 1/28/12 at the Hyatt Place Hotel (adjacent to San Jose Convention Center) for 37 firefighters who have retired over recent months. For information and reservations, go to We've known many of these retirees since they began their careers.

Tony Balsa; Tim Baughman; John Becker; Graesson Berbano; Steve Black; Todd Bruce; Tom Buchan; Manuel Burns; Melanie Chase; Kevin Dennis; Patty Doler; Steve Franklin; Vincent Fung; Jim Galbo; Marsha Hovey; Craig Jessup; Randy Jones; Karen Kuns; Todd Lamert; Clark Mauel; Teresa Meisenbach; Bill Morrison; Mark Nadvornik; Don Olson; Hal Rooney; Kelly Seitz; Steve Stockman; Rick Stoker; Jim Swanson; Bill Sylvester; Nick Valdez; Monique Vandenberg; Wes Vanosdol; Joe Virarnontez; Ken Waldvogel; Ian Wallace and Charles Witmer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 3-Alarm Fire Causes Fire Associates Response

On Christmas afternoon, at approximately 6:00PM, San Jose Fire dispatched on a structure fire located a few blocks away from Station 35. The incident address was 244 Omira Drive, near Lean Avenue. It was a 2-story house, single-family, with several wheelchair-bound occupants. The first on-scene unit, Truck 35, concentrated on rescue of the occupants. Heavy fire was soon reported in the garage and a 2nd alarm was called. Soon a precautionary 3rd alarm was called, which triggered a response from Fire Associates for a Fire Support Unit (FSU). John Whiteside was monitoring the call from the beginning, notified the answering/paging service and started responding upon the 3rd alarm request.

Just as John was leaving his driveway enroute to pick up FSU #3 at Station 35, he monitored a fire dispatch to a chimney fire on Loma Prieta Drive, a few blocks from his house and an empty Station 12, which was at the Omira fire. Since John would have to go past this fire scene, he rerouted to it, gave a status report via radio to San Jose Fire, then continued on to Station 35 to activate FSU-3.

Upon Johns arrival at the Omira fire in FSU-3, the Incident Commander requested he set up for coffee and drinks. Soon John was joined by Don Gilbert, and then Mike Chappell. Clif Bars were available for anyone who wanted them -- or maybe had not yet had Christmas dinner.  FSU-3 was released at  9:30PM and returned to nearby Station 35.

There were manyThank yous from area residents to both the firemen and policemen at the scene for working Christmas Day, as well as to Fire Associates from the fire personnel. It seems that either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is a regular fire callout for Fire Associates, based on the past few years history. 

-- Report Submitted by John Whiteside

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Fires In A Span of 5 Hours Keeps Fire Associates Members Busy

The first day of December became a busy day for Santa Clara county fire departments and, hence, Fire Associates' members. Three different fires in the span of 5 hours stretched from Campbell to South San Jose. Descriptions of the 3 events follows:

3:21 P.M. Thursday, December 1 
Photo by Brian A. Floyd, Campbell Patch
Santa Clara County Fire Calls for Aid at 2-Alarm Fire In Campbell

On Wednesday evening, the weather forecasters were all predicting strong winds for the entire state of California. So, it was not surprising when a structure fire in Campbell quickly went to a second alarm. John Whitaker was returning home from an errand when the call for assistance came from the Santa Clara County Fire Department. He looked across the Valley and saw a plume of smoke rising from the Valley's West Side.

John quickly went home, donned his FASCV gear, and responded in Fire Support Unit 2 to the location at 420 Nello Drive - parallelling San Tomas Expressway. He was met on scene by FASCV member George Hoyt who helped with rehab location. Also helping with rehab set up was past FASCV guest Walt Huber.

Considering the strong winds, and the building's shake-roof construction, County Fire crews made a good knockdown of the blaze. The fire apparently began in a garage area at the rear of the structure. Flames spread up the exterior of the building and entered he attic space through the roof vents. Once inside the attic, the fire ran the length of the building.
About an hour after FSU-2 arrived on scene, a second, unrelated, multi-alarm fire broke out less than 2 miles away. Crews who were on the periphery of the fireground were quickly dispatched to the new incident, leaving extremely "jealous" first-in firefighters who were still occupied with the Nello Drive overhaul.

4:49 P.M. Thursday, December 1 
Another 2-Alarm Incident Causes Santa Clara County Fire to Respond to Its Second Fire In Campbell
Photo by Brian A. Floyd, Campbell Patch
The second fire of the day was not far from the first. Located at 600 Marathon Drive, just 2 intersections up the San Tomas Expressway, this fire was burning on an exterior balcony. Because of the high winds, it didn't take long for the fire to enter the attic and through the 12-unit building.
Because Fire Support Unit 2 was tied up providing service at the first fire, Bob Gundrum responded to this incident in FSU-1. He was joined on scene by Jerry Haag, Ron Green, Bruce Dembecki, Larry Carr, George Hoyt and Walter Huber (guest). John Whitaker was eventually released from the Nello Drive fire and responded in with FSU-2. Jerry's report follows:

Date and Time: 01 December 2011, 1630 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address: 600 Marathon Drive, Campbell
Type: 2nd alarm.

Details: Large, two-story, non-sprinklered apartment building. Fire on a second floor balcony, threat to spread to attic. Truss roof warning issued.

CNT: E-6, 8, 9, 15, 301; R-17 and 3; T-1, 5; HM-2; BS-2; ICs Batt-2 (Cocraft) and Batt-12 (Salazar); Batt-3; Batt-14
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1, supplemented by FSU-2 which was returning from a nearby 2nd alarm fire. Eventually, FSU-2 left the scene to go back into service just in time to attend a Tier vegetation fire in South San Jose. FSU-1 was released at 1930 hours.

7:21 P.M. Thursday, December 1
Fire Associates Responds to a Rare Nighttime Tier Vegetation Fire in South San Jose
Photo by Bruce Dembecki

With two structure fires under his belt, John Whitaker was just about to put FSU-2 away for the night at SJFD Station 6 when the rig radio began to crackle with word of a vegetation fire in South San Jose. So, sitting on the apron of Station 6, and knowing that it was a cold, windy night, John called Fire Dispatch to ask if the IC would like to have an already staffed Support Unit respond. The reply from Battalion 13 was, "Yes!" That's all John needed to hear, and he was off!

Located at 5215 Hellyer Ave., the fire was reported to be about an acre in size and located behind a row of office and industrial buildings. Even with the quicker than usual response, by the time John arrived, the fire had already been knocked down and crews were mopping up. The Engine 18 Captain explained that they had been to the site about an hour earlier and could not find a fire. This time, the crews had a better idea where to look and arrived at the exact site. With a hydrant handy, the engines were able to quell the fire with deck guns and minimal hand lines -- therefore, there was not much mop up required.

By this time, John had been joined by George Hoyt and Bruce Dembecki, who helped provide some fluids and Clif Bars to crews who had not yet had dinner. MMMMM... Gatorade and Clif Bars for dinner - yum!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FASCV Responds to 3-Alarm Incident for Santa Clara County Fire Dept.

Date & Time: 26 November 2011, 1800 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address: 21230 Homestead Road, Cupertino

Type: 3rd alarm.
Details: Incident located at Village Green Apartments - a large, two-story, nonsprinklered apartment building. Fire showing from a second floor end unit on arrival of E-1, quickly spread to attic. Water supply a problem, initially. No hydrants in the complex necessitating  an extremely long lay of 5" supply line.

Responders: CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 9, 16; R-14, 17; T-1; HM-2; BS-2; IC-Batt. 14 (Werner), Batt-3, Batt-2
SJS: T-14; LU-14; E-15; Med-30, Batt-10
SNY: E-3
MTV: Batt-18

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Released at 2125 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Geoge Hoyt, Jerry Haag, Mike Chappell and Josh Chappell (guest).
-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FASCV Responds to 2-Alarm Fire for Santa Clara County Fire

Date & Time: 16 November 2011, 0242 hours 
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address: 10256 Glencoe Drive, Cupertino  
Type: 2nd alarm.
Details: Small, single-story, single-family, occupied house. Fireplace coals placed in can outside under eaves flared up and fire entered the concealed space between the original flat roof and remodel peaked roof. Substantial damage to the house, one adult and four children displaced.

CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 16, 17; R-14; T-1; HM-2; BS-2; IC-Batt. 2 (Cocroft), Batt-14
SJS: T-14
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Released at 0600 hours.
FASCV Responders: Jerry Haag (driver) and Ron Green
-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fire Associates Aids Santa Clara County at 2-Alarm Incident in Los Altos

(Remember to click on these photos to view full-size images)
Date and Time: 08 November 2011, 0121 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address:
401 Raquel Lane, Los Altos
Type: 2nd alarm.

Details: Single-story, single-family, occupied house.
CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 15, 16; R-3, 17; T-1, 14; HM-2; BS-2; IC-Batt. 14 (Young), Batt-2
FASCV Responding Unit:
FSU-4. Released at 0430 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Jerry Haag and Dan Wong

-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

South County Requests FASCV for 2-Alarm Fire

On November 1, at about 10:30 A.M., South County Fire (CALFIRE) radio-paged CALFIRE Volunteer In Fire Prevention (VIP) and FASCV member John Whiteside requesting a Fire Support Unit response to a 2-alarm structure fire. The fire was in a rural, single-story ranch house at located 2545 Dunlap Ave., between Furlong Ave. and Ferguson Road, east of the Gilroy Outlets. It was an attic fire, requiring mutual aid from Gilroy, Santa Clara County and South County District with station coverage by San Jose.

John contacted our paging service and the member page went out at 10:41 A.M. John responded from San Jose Station 35 with Fire Support Unit 3. He was met on scene by Ron Green, who happened to be in the area. Mike Chappell was already there with CALFIRE unit Supply 1610. John Whitaker arrived later. We provided drinks and Clif Bars to the firefighters.
Before John arrived with FSU 3 at about 11:20, the Fire District had another call -- an apparent brush fire miles away near the San Benito County line. Some fire rigs were freed up from the structure fire and additional CALFIRE, Santa Clara County, Gilroy and San Jose units were dispatched. It turned out to be a pile of debris and most rigs were soon released.
Then, just after 12:30 P.M., a brush fire was called in near Frazier Lake Road and Bloomfield Ave. -- again near the San Benito County line. The smoke was visible from our structure fire, with the smoke column building. Units were again released from the structure fire, with additional CALFIRE units from out of county dispatched along with an air tanker and Copter 901. Mike left for this fire in Supply 1610 with drinks. The fire grew to approximately 10 acres before being contained. FSU 3 was released from the structure fire at 13:01 P.M. and, not being needed for the brush fire, returned to quarters in San Jose.
-- Report by John Whiteside
-- Photos by John Whitaker

Sunday, October 23, 2011

FASCV Called Out for 3-Alarmer In San Jose

Date: 10/23/11
Type: Structure Fire
Size:   3 Alarm
Jurisdiction: San Jose Fire Department
Location: 1675 Bowling Green Drive, San Jose
Responding Members: Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag and Don Gilbert
Response Units: FSU2

Bruce has provided the following report:

A little before 2:00AM on October 23, San Jose Fire called for Fire Associates at 1675 Bowling Green Drive, San Jose. An apartment complex had been burning and within 30 minutes, with flames shooting through the roof, a decision was made to go to a 3rd alarm. While the fire was raging on both floors of the complex, the situation was made more challenging for firefighters as the flooring on the second story of the building became quite weak. The fire building was one in a complex of several, and all 32 apartments in that building were uninhabitable as a result of the fire.

Upon arrival, firefighters had difficulties advancing a line much further inside than 15 feet into the building due to extremely heavy smoke and flames inside the building. The hallway between the units acted as a tunnel trapping heat and smoke - this, together with the number of units, complicated firefighting efforts. Two residents of the complex were transported to hospital as a result of injuries suffered in the blaze. One resident was rescued off a 2nd-story balcony and another was treated for injuries after jumping from a balcony.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters set about gathering the residents still on scene and organizing Red Cross assistance. Of the 32 apartments, firefighters found residents from 17, totaling 47 people who had lost most of their belongings and a place to sleep. Valley Transit Authority responded two city busses to the scene to give the residents somewhere sheltered to wait while the Red Cross worked with them on finding temporary housing and other assistance. As it was already after 4:00AM, it is believed the residents from other units had found temporary accommodation with friends in other buildings in the complex and Red Cross's work load will rise as Sunday goes on.

FASCV member Bruce Dembecki arrived on scene at 2:20AM with Fire Support Unit 2. He was met by members Don Gilbert and Jerry Haag. Rehab was quickly established and FSU 2 served firefighters both hot and cold drinks and as always provided a great location for firefighters to take a break and recover from their exertion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fire Associates Called Back Out to Support Police Incident

Date & Time:  05 October 2011, Sonitrol page at 1814, FASCV on scene at 1920.
Agency:  Santa Clara County Fire Dept. request for Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
Type:  Special Call, Police Operation.
Incident Address:  19120 Homestead Road near Tantau Ave. (Police Command Post).
Details:  Support at Command Post for police action at Sunnyvale incident, released during canteen set-up.
FASCV Responding Unit:  Fire Support Unit-1. Released at 1945.
FASCV Responders:  Dan Wong (Driver) and Mike Chappell.
-- Report Submitted by Dan Wong

Police Again Request Fire Associates' Assistance

For the second time in a month, one of Santa Clara County's police agencies has asked for Fire Associates' aid. This time, it was support for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office requested through Santa Clara County Fire Dispatch. At the time, several police agencies were involved in a manhunt for an assault suspect. Jerry Haag has submitted this report:

Date & Time: 05 October 2011, Sonitrol page at 1034, on-scene at 1125. 
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address: 22260 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino  
Type: Special Call
Details: Support at Command Post for police action at cement quarry. 60 meals served.

FASCV Responding Unit: Fire Support Unit-1. Released at 1530 hours.
FASCV Responders: Jerry Haag (driver), Dan Wong, George Hoyt and Mike Chappell.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gilroy Firefighters Attack 3-Alarm Fire


The first day of October found the Gilroy Fire Department fighting a fire in a small house located at 335 Old Gilroy Street.
John Whiteside was listening to his radio scanner and upon hearing a fast upgrade to 2nd alarm, he started listening a little more closely. Soon, he heard additional requests for even more equipment. So, being proactive, he called Gilroy and asked if they wanted a Fire Support Unit. Dispatch reached the IC and called back, saying, "Yes, please come down." John contacted Sonitrol and a page was sent out at 3:17 P.M. to all FASCV members.

John responded in FSU-3 and was joined on scene by FASCV members Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker and Herman DeKruyff.

Although the involved structure was relatively small, because of its close proximity of other houses, a third alarm was eventually called. The fire ran the entire attic of the home and spread throughout the residence. Even after the fire had been declared under control, firefighters spent considerable time on the roof gaining access to pockets of smoldering shingles and roofing material.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Santa Clara City Fire Dept. Fights Early Morning Fire

    Date & Time: 27 September 2011, Sonitrol page at 0422, FASCV on-scene at 0502. 
    Agency: Santa Clara City Fire
    Type: 3rd alarm.  
    Incident Address: 3409 El Camino Real, Santa Clara

    Details: Fire in single-story strip mall business under renovation. Three attack lines from E-5 with own hydrant supply. Fire held to unit of origin, minor damage to adjoining businesses on each side.

    SNC: E-3, 5, 7, 9; R-2; T-2, 8; H-9; IC-Batt. 1 (Acting B/C Luzero)  
    FASCV Responding Unit: Fire Support Unit 1. Released at 0700 hours.
    FASCV Responders: Jerry Haag (driver), Ron Green, Dan Wong, George Hoyt and Herman DeKruyff.
    -- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    San Jose Calls for FASCV Assistance at 5-Alarm Blaze

    (Remember. Clicking on all photos in the blog will enlarge the image)
    It was just a little before 5:00 P.M. on September 19, when the San Jose Fire Department asked for assistance from Fire Associates at a 5-alarm structure fire. A fire had begin in one of the city's old victorians located at 272 E. Washington Street. With summer temperatures hovering in the mid 90s, John Whiteside responded in FSU-3 and Don Gilbert brought FSU-02. They were met on scene by FASCV members George Hoyt, John Whitaker, Ron Gree, Mike Chappell and Dan Wong.

    It was a good thing both support units were on scene. The approximately 100 firefighters present were going through an average of a bottle-and-a-half bottles of liquid for every hour they were on scene. FASCV gave out almost every bottle of water and Gatorade that was brought on both vehicles! In addition, every bag of ice that was brought was also used up. On top of all this, the fire began right before the dinner hour, so hungry crews had to be fed. 90 burritos were ordered up by SJFD Communications personnel with John Whitaker and Dan Wong volunteering to go pick up the order.

    Despite the very hot temperatures, firefighters made a good stop on the blaze. The structure was fully involved, but neither of the adjacent homes were damaged. Fire was present on every floor of the involved home, built in 1892. Fire Associates provided assistance in a very busy rehab area until released at approximately 9:30 P.M. It should be noted that the temperature had only dropped to 78 degrees at the time of release!

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Rare Call from San Jose PD Brings Fire Associates Response

    Photo By Bruce Dembecki
    Date and Time:  September 16, 2011, 20:51
    Type:  Police Operation
    Size:  Special Call
    Jurisdiction:  San Jose Fire Department request for San Jose Police Department
    Location:  684 Lenfest, near Mabury and King Rd. (Police Command Post)
    Response Unit:  FSU-2
    Responding Members:  Bruce Dembecki, Mike Chappell, Ron Green and John Whitaker (with Liz)
    At around 9:00 P.M. on Friday September 16, FASCV received a request from San Jose Fire to provide assistance to the San Jose Police Department during an extended operation. The police officers were searching for a serious offender after a shooting and car jacking that occurred earlier in the day. After locating the suspect's car, officers were involved in a pursuit with shots fired a little before 6:00 . The offender escaped on foot into a nearby residential area.

    A very thorough search of the area was initiated, with Special Operations Police, K9 units and the Police helicopter all working to locate the suspect, while another large team of officers secured the perimeter. As the evening wore on Police realized that it was going to be a long night and requested FASCV through the Fire Dispatch center. The Fire Department also helped out with the portable restrooms, and they had USAR 34 on standby to assist with the search.

    Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was on scene before 10:00pm, where he was met by FASCV members Ron Green and Mike Chappell. FASCV setup a rehab station next to the Police Command post, and provided Hot and Cold drinks and Cliff Bars to go with the In-N-Out burgers the Police Dept had arranged to feed it's teams. As the night wore on Coffee became increasingly popular, while we sent cases of water out to the field units.

    FSU 2 was released around 2:30am, and we left 2 pots of fresh coffee and a supply of Cliff bars for the PD units still searching. While the Friday night search was not successful, the Police Department did get their man a couple of days later.
    -- Report Submitted By: Bruce Dembecki

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Fire Associates Responds to 3-Alarm Condo Fire

    Date:  September 14, 2011
    Type:  Structure Fire
    Size:  3-Alarm
    Jurisdiction: San Jose Fire Department
    Location:  2358 Bear Valley Lane, San Jose
    Response Unit:  FSU-2
    Responding Members: Bruce Dembecki, John Whiteside, George Hoyt, Don Gilbert, Jerry Haag and Walter Huber (Guest)
    At 3:30 on Wednesday September 14, FASCV responded to a multi-alarm fire burning through an apartment complex on Bear Valley Lane in San Jose. Arriving firefighters were confronted with active fire through the roof of a 2-story residential structure, and quickly discovered the garage building for the units was also ablaze.

    As the fire started to run the building's attic space, Incident Commander B/C 1B Robert Sapien requested a third alarm, which initiated the automatic FASCV response. John Whiteside and Bruce Dembecki responded to Fire Station 6 to pick up Fire Support Unit 2 and headed to the scene. They were met on scene by FASCV members Don Gilbert, George Hoyt and Jerry Haag, along with guest Walter Huber.

    On this warm afternoon, firefighters went through large amounts of water, Gatorade and lemonade in a busy Rehab section.

    -- Report Submitted By: Bruce Dembecki


    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Palo Alto Fire Asks for Fire Associates' Assistance at "Explosion"

    A peaceful Tuesday evening was interrupted by the sound of an "explosion" at a Palo Alto apartment complex. Initially responding to the incident in his personal vehicle was FASCV vice president Jerry Haag. He was joined later by Larry Carr in Support Unit 4 who responded to a page for help from Palo Alto Fire.

    Jerry has submitted the following report:

    Date & Time: 13 September 2011, 1930 hours. Sonitrol page at 1958.
    Agency: Palo Alto Fire
    Incident Address: 2727 Midtown Court, Palo Alto
    Type: 2nd alarm, quickly cancelled, followed by special call for Fire Associates response.
    Details: Vigorous chemical reaction of swimming pool chemicals with resulting release of chlorine gas, various early reports included “explosion” and “smoke seen”. All residents of a large apartment complex were evacuated. Jerry Haag initially provided water at Medical for evacuees and treatment personnel, and then firefighters were served by FSU-4. Small number of victims transported to Stanford Hospital with symptoms of choking, vomiting.

    PAF: E-1, 4, 5; R-1; T-6; Medic 1, 2, IC-Batt. 6 (Broussard)
    3 County EMS ambulances;
    Responding Support Unit: Initial voluntary response by Haag in own POV, followed by Larry Carr in FSU-4 after Sonitrol page. Released at 2200 hours.
    FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Jerry Haag, Dan Wong and Ron Green with Barbara Green (guest)

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Trench Rescue Necessitates an Extended Operation

    In the late morning on September 12, Santa Clara County Fire personnel were called to a rescue operation in Saratoga. Located at 12370 Radoyka Drive, a construction worker was trapped in a trench that had been dug next to a home's foundation. Suspecting that the rescue would require an extended operation, FASCV member Bruce Dembeki called fire dispatchers to see if FASCV could be of assistance. The response was, "Yes!"

    While Bruce went to get Fire Support Unit 2, Ron Green, George Hoyt, Dan Wong, Don Gilbert and John Whitaker reponded to the scene. Rehab was set up in a shady driveway several doors down from the incident. FASCV provided lemonade, cold beverages, Clif Bars and a place to sit down on a warm, summer afternoon. As the event moved into it's third hour, Ron Green and John Whitaker were tasked with ordering and delivering 50 Togo's sandwiches from a nearby store.

    The incident proved to be a very complicated effort. The trench had been dug right next to the house foundation where a worker was looking for the source of a leak in a recently-built basement. While in the trench, the dirt collapsed and he was buried up to his neck. Firefighters quickly called for a City of San Jose Vacon truck that was able to suck up the loose dirt. Conventional digging was just causing more dirt to fall into the narrow trench. The worker was eventually hauled out on a backboard with block and tackle rigging hung from below the basket on Santa Clara County Fire Truck 1.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Fire Associates Supports SJFD's 9/11 Memorial

    On Sunday morning, September 11, members of Fire Associates provided coffee and beverages to those attending the 9/11 Memorial ceremony at SJFD's Station No. 1. Bruce Dembecki, Ron Green (with Barbara) and John Whitaker (with Liz) all attended the event.

    Bruce Dembecki arrived with Fire Support Unit 2 at approximately 10:30 A.M. and set up a coffee service area inside the vacated apparatus bay at Station 1, located at 255 N. Market St. Ron Green assisted Bruce with the set up and helped to make sure a fresh pot of coffee was always available to the 1,000-plus attendees. While John Whitaker was also on hand to help with the set up, his primary activity centered around supporting the San Jose Fire Museum - a co-sponsor of the event. John's volunteer efforts with the Museum lead to his production of the 12-page program for the day's activities.

    A highlight of the ceremony was a display of 343 pairs of turnout boots arranged in front of the podium at Station 1. Each pair of boots, signifying public safety personnel who lost their lives 10 years earlier, was tied together with a black ribbon and the name of someone who gave their life. A small, American flag was also placed in each boot.

    Hosted by former newscaster Rigo Chacon, the event's speakers included: William McDonald, Fire Chief, SJFD; Christopher Moore, Chief of Police, SJPD; Chuck Reed, Mayor, City of San Jose; Dave Cortese, President, Board of Supervisors, Santa Clara Co.; and Nora Campos, Assemblymember, San Jose. The keynote address was presented by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    "Slow" Month for FASCV Ends with Gas Explosion in Cupertino

    "Here is what I found burning upon arrival." - Bob Gundrum
    Date & Time: 31 August 2011, 1245 hours 
    Agency: Santa Clara County Fire Incident Address: 20299 Northwest Square, CupertinoType: With both CNT and SNY in attendance, a constructive 2nd alarm.
    Details: Two-story, single-family, townhouse-style occupied condo. Reported as an "explosion" later found to be due to leaking natural gas. Heavy damage to the building. Engine 1 first in, own 5" supply line from close hydrant. Held to unit of origin. One small dog rescued. Final extinguishment was delayed while PG&E clamped-off underground gas lines serving the building.

    Responders: CNT:  E-1, 2, 9; R-17; T-1; HM-2; IC-Batt. 14 (Pearson), Batt-2 SNY:  E-3, 4, 30; T-2, Batt. 1
    FASCV Responding Unit: Voluntary response by Haag in own POV. Upon contact with IC ordered response from FSU-1. Released at 1630 hours.
    Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag, Ron Green and Walter Huber (guest)

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    FASCV Makes Donation to Burn Foundation

    Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley recently made a cash donation to the Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. The $100 donation was made by members of Fire Associates during the Mountain View stop of the recent Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Relay.

    The Burn Relay is a procession of current and antique fire apparatus that travels "Code 3" up the San Francisco Bay Penninsula collecting monetary donations a various stops along the way. Like years past, this annual event was a great success, garnering the support of the Bay Area’s finest fire departments and other agencies. The 2011 relay began at Moffett Field and traveled north to the San Francisco Fire Department's Division of Training site. FASCV was proud to participate in this year's relay with Fire Support Unit 1 taking part in the procession as far north as the Santa Clara/San Mateo County line.

    The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing burns and fires and providing services to those who have been affected by a burn injury. AARBF brings together health care providers, firefighters, emergency workers, burn survivors and others to enhance the quality of life for burn survivors and to make burn injuries a thing of the past.

    At age eight, Alisa Ann Ruch was fatally injured in a backyard barbecue accident in Southern California. Bravely using their tragedy as a catalyst for change, Alisa Ann’s parents, local firefighters and medical professionals joined together and created AARBF in 1971 with the goal of preventing burn injuries by teaching Stop Drop and Roll.

    Former Fire Support Unit Gets New Life

    Fire Associates' former Fire Support Unit 2 must be part feline - it seems to have 9 lives.

    In the early 1990s, this vehicle served as a Santa Clara County Vector Control unit. Then, it was donated to Fire Associates and, after some custom modification by member Don Gilbert, became a part of the organization's FSU fleet. In May, 2009, it was donated by FASCV to the San Jose Fire Museum (see this link) and, now, it has been transformed into a fleet service vehicle for the Museum.

    Thanks to some work by San Jose Fire Museum Fleet Manager Randy Perez, the 1990 Dodge Power Ram is not only part of the Museum's historic collection, but it now does double duty as the Museum's road service vehicle.

    Randy says, "This vehicle is perfectly suited to our needs. When we take one of our antique vehicles on the road, we usually need an additional vehicle to tag along behind the antique rig as safety support. This former FSU is big and red and has the bonus of rotating, amber warning lights."

    It should be noted that the rig also has a 5,000-watt generator for power equipment and plenty of storage compartments for tools that might be needed in case an antique rig has a breakdown on the road. And, because of its towing capacity, the new service truck can pull a trailer for hauling several of the smaller rigs in the Museum's collection. All of these are capabilities that the Museum didn't have before the donation from Fire Associates.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Fire Associates To Take Part In "2011 Burn Relay"

    On Thursday, August 18, Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley will join in on the "2011 Burn Relay" benefiting the Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. FASCV Vice President, Jerry Haag, reports, "FASCV President, Bob Gundrum, and I will join the parade in FSU-1 and go as far as Palo Alto. We will stay in service. During the relay, FASCV will present a donation check to the burn foundation. The presentation will be made at the Mountain View stop (Fire Station 1 on S. Shoreline at Dana)."

    An informational flier can be viewed at this link:  2011 Burn Relay
    A description of the route can be read at:  2011 Burn Relay Route

    Santa Clara County Fire Battles Early Morning House Fire

    Early on Thursday morning, August 11, Santa Clara County Fire battled a full first alarm house fire in Los Altos Hills. In a rare, early morning voluntary response, Jerry Haag responded in his personal vehicle. Jerry has submitted the following report:
    Date & Time: 11 August 2011, 0200 hours 
    Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
    Incident Address: Anacapa Dr. & Ascension Dr., Los Altos Hills  
    Type: “Full First” Alarm
    Details: Large, single-story, single-family, unoccupied dwelling undergoing remodeling. Fire in attached garage that spread to roof. Delayed detection, heavily involved before arrival of first units. Heavy damage to the building. Engine 15 first in, provided own 5" supply line from close hydrant, 5 attack lines.

    CNT: E-1, 7, 15, 16; R-14, 17; HM-2; BS-2; IC-Batt. 14 (Vega), Safety (Wallace)

    FASCV Responding Unit: Voluntary response by Jerry Haag in his own POV, released at 0425 hours. 28 bottles of water dispensed.
    FASCV Responders: Jerry Haag

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Santa Clara Firefighters Battle 3-Alarm Fire

    Date & Time: 02 August 2011, 1934 hours
    Agency: Santa Clara City
    Incident Address: 2312 Augusta Lane 
    Type: Third Alarm

    Details: Wood frame, single story, single family dwelling. Fire in outside shed and attached garage. Engine 5 first in, own 5" supply line from close hydrant, 3 attack lines. Heavy black smoke more reminiscent of an industrial fire filled the sky above Santa Clara, visible from Palo Alto to the far side of San Jose - the outside "structure" was full of "heavy fuel load" materials, which caused the increased level of smoke, and some problems for firefighters.

    SNC: E-2, 7, 9, 10; E-1 & 3 quickly released; T-2; R-2; IC-Batt. 1 (Dellamaggiore)

    FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1, released at 2115 hours.
    Responders:  Bob Gundrum (driver), Herman De Kruyff, Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag and Dan Wong with Walter Huber (guest)

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    Sunnyvale DPS Responds to 2-alarm Apartment Fire

    On Sunday, July 31, Sunnyvale DPS responded to reports of an apartment on fire at 1206 Henderson Ave. in Sunnyvale a little before 3:00 P.M. Arriving units reported flames out the windows of a ground floor apartment, and a second alarm was struck. The fire damaged the front of building units on both the first and second floors, as well as some damage into the attic, before it was quickly contained.

    Sunnyvale units handled the first and second alarm, while Sunnyvale called on some Mutual Aid units for station coverage.

    Responding units included FASCV Fire Support Unit 1, driven by Bob Gundrum who was accompanied by Len Williams. Bob and Len were met on scene by FASCV members Jerry Haag, David Thompson, Dan Wong, Ron Green and Bruce Dembecki, along with FASCV guest, Walter Huber.

    Support Unit 1 was released a little after 4:30 P.M.
    -- Report and photos submitted by Bruce Dembecki

    Saturday, July 30, 2011

    Multiple-Structures Fire Requires Multiple Alarms

    At 5:30 A.M. on Saturday July 30th, Santa Clara County Fire Department dispatched units to a reported structure fire at Monterey Highway and Watsonville Rd., just near the Cal Fire Morgan Hill Fire Station. The following report comes from FASCV member Bruce Dembecki:

    Units from South County/Cal Fire and County Fire responded, and at 5:31 A.M., South County Engine 1 reported they were on scene of a structure fire with a multiple structures fully involved, requesting a second alarm at that time to 15520 Monterey Road. Additional Santa Clara County units were dispatched along with mutual aid units from San Jose and Gilroy. By 6:00 A.M., the page had gone out to Fire Associates to respond a Support Unit, and Don Gilbert was joined in Support Unit 3 by Bruce Dembecki, and they were met on scene by Dan Wong.

    Behind the main house, two pool houses and a treehouse, connected to the house with flaming wooden trusses, were fully involved. A good stop was effected by units on scene, preventing spread of the fire to the connected house, or the many surrounding buildings used to store tools and supplies for the owner's hardwood flooring business. Had the 911 call been further delayed, the impact would have been far worse. 

    The incident was under the command of County Battalion 12, B/C Salazar, driving his brand new Battalion 12 buggy, which he picked up from the County shop just two days earlier. Coffee and donuts were popular at the early hour, and by mid morning, cold drinks were the order of the day. Support Unit 3 was released at around 10:00 A.M. and made it's way back to quarters at San Jose Station 35.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    FASCV Responds to Palo Alto Grass Fire

    Date & Time: 28 July 2011, 1526 hours
    Agency: Palo Alto
    Incident Address: 1530 Arastradero Rd.
    Type: Reinforced Wildland Response.

    Details: 2 to 3 acre grass fire, one old Live Oak (dead).

    PAF: E-2 & 8; P-6 & 8; Foothill Patrol-2 & 4; TC-1, Batt. 6 (IC-Broussard)
    CNT: R-14; Batt. 14
    Woodside: E-8
    CDF: Helo 106 & five engine strike team (both cancelled)

    FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1, released at 1700 hours.
    Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Ron Green and Jerry Haag