Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2nd Alarm House Fire In Gilroy

It was late morning on March 30, when John Whiteside was listening to his radio scanner. He was following a house fire incident in Gilroy when he heard the IC call for a 2nd alarm. John made a quick phone call to Gilroy Fire Dispatch and asked if the IC would like Fire Associates to respond. The reply back was "Yes!" John then had Sonitrol put out the page at 11:10 A.M. John Whitaker, Mike Chappell and George Hoyt responded along with John Whiteside, who drove Support Unit 3. The fire was located at 7810 Westwood Dr.

Upon arrival, FASCV members not only found the street full of fire apparatus, but also a large police presence. The house was set back from the street with the front yard fenced off and a lot of items stored where a front lawn normally would be growing. Cars, a tent, barrels and other assorted "stuff" littered the space. Inside, firefighters had an equally hard time maneuvering through the numerous items stored in the house. Because of the access problems, and known chemicals stored in the garage, the IC called for a 2nd alarm to be struck. Although the fire never got much past the smoldering stage, the access problems required additional manpower.

On a sunny, Spring day, FASCV served the usual water, Gatorade, and Clif Bars. Since the fire started just before the lunch hour, the fire department also ordered up 40 Double Whoppers and fries from Burger King to feed the hungry crews. FASCV provided the tables for serving and our portable benches were quite popular. After most of the fire crews had been released, FASCV members left the scene in the early afternoon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Amonia Leak Results in FASCV Response

At 11:21 A.M. on Saturday, March 19, Fire Associates received a request for assistance from the San Jose Fire Department. A 5,000-gal. tank of ammonia was leaking at the Santa Clara Valley Water District treatment plant located on Rosalind Lane in the Almaden Valley. The leak caused SJFD to respond a HAZMAT Task Force and the extended containment and clean-up operation necessitated a call for FASCV help. John Whitaker responded in Fire Support Unit 2 and was joined by FASCV members Jerry Haag and Dan Wong.

It was a blustery and rainy early afternoon, so the first order of business for FASCV was to erect both of FSU-2's pop-up shelters. Once those were in place, serving tables and benches were put out. Pots of hot coffee were quickly perked along with a request for a kettle of hot water for tea. Temperatures were in the high 40's and the rain continued to fall throughout the entire operation.

Since the call came in just before the noon hour, fire crews on scene not yet eaten lunch. So, FASCV was asked to pick up and serve 40 Togo's sandwiches and chips. Jerry Haag and Dan Wong made the lunch run and Jerry reported that since the order was placed for the San Jose Fire Department, Togo's offerred a 10% discount on the meal -- a much appreciated offer, we're sure.

Firefighters from the SJFD Hit Team donned their protective gear and inspected the tank for danger. The report back was that the leak had been adequately plugged by Santa Clara Valley Water Dept. personnel and the 250 gallons of leaked ammonia was contained. By mid-afternoon, the scene was turned over to Water Department representatives who indicated that they would have a contractor vacuum up the spill to eliminate any problem. Fire Associates was released from the incident at 3:00 P.M. However, the work was not over as John and Dan had to return to Station 6 and spread out all the FASCV equipment to dry. The day's work was completed shortly after 4:00 P.M.

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Two Early Morning Responses for Santa Clara Co. Fire Dept.

    Early on Saturday morning, March 12, two fires in the Saratoga area within 2 hours of each other kept firefighters and several Fire Associates' members busy. After being paged by the Santa Clara County Fire Dept., Jerry Haag responded to both events in Fire Support Unit 3 (running as FSU-1 out of Santa Clara Station 9). He was joined both times by members Dan Wong and Mike Chappell.

    Jerry has submitted the following, brief reports:

    Response #1:

    12 March 2011, 0246 hours
    Address: 20211 Argonaut, Saratoga
    Type: Second alarm. Large single-story, single-family dwelling under construction.
    Responding Unit: FSU-3 as FSU-1
    Responders: Haag (driver), Wong, Chappell

    Response #2:

    12 March 2011, 0455 hours
    Address: 19915 Mallory, Saratoga
    Type: Full first alarm plus 1 engine. Large single-story, single-family dwelling under construction.
    Responding Unit: FSU-3 as FSU-1
    Responders: Haag (driver), Wong, Chappell