Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fire Associates On Scene for 10 Hrs. In Milpitas

Before noon, on a sunny Saturday morning, FASCV received a request for support from the Milpitas Fire Department. They were dealing with a trench collapse on a construction site at 814 Calaveras Ridge Drive, and were anticipating an extended operation. Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and arrived on scene around 12:15pm. He was met on scene by FASCV member Ron Green and his wife, Barbara, and was later joined by FASCV member Mike Chappell.     
Workers were on scene and working on the site, including near a retaining wall. The wall collapsed, trapping one worker in a trench. Arriving firefighters were confronted with a mountain of unstable dirt above the area where the worker was trapped, and bravely made access to the area where the worker was trapped. Once they reached the worker, they discovered there was nothing they could do to help him, and withdrew from the area to work out a safe recovery plan.

Investigators from Cal OSHA, Milpitas PD and the Santa Clara County Coroner's office were called to the scene. While investigators did their work, fire department officials were working on recovery options. The operation continued throughout the warm afternoon and cold drinks were popular at the Rehab section. As we transitioned to evening operations, the temperature dipped and FSU-2 switched into hot drink mode -- serving coffee and hot chocolate to workers on the scene. FSU-2's lighting capabilities also contributed to lighting the scene, along with the light tower on MFD USAR 1.

By 10:00pm, it was determined the threat of further collapse of the loose dirt was too dangerous to continue the operation and operations were suspended for the evening. The plan for Sunday is to cover the worker with a concrete box and use an excavator to pull the piles of dirt down, rendering the area safe. Once the collapse threat is removed the excavator crews will be able to dig around the concrete box and complete the recovery operation. Milpitas Police Department will remain on scene overnight, and the Milpitas Fire Department will monitor the operation on Sunday for safety.

-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FSU-2 Responds to 2nd Alarm in San Jose

(Click Photo to Enlarge)
On Thursday morning, January 19, Fire Associates reponded to a 2nd alarm house fire on the edge of San Jose's east foothills. Located at 3697 Norwood Ave., the fire was in one of two homes on a rural property. Bruce Dembecki responded in Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by FASCV member John Whitaker.

Although the fire was initially called in at 4:14 A.M., Fire Associates was not called until 6:03 A.M. when firefighters realized that Med30's cold water and Gatorade was not exactly what they needed in 39-degree weather. Needless to say, John and Bruce quickly made several pots of hot coffee to meet the demand.

After servicing all those on scene, FSU-2 stayed on scene until fresh crews arrived for the 8:00 A.M. shift change. Temperatures were still not very high, so coffee continued to be in demand. FSU-2 was released from the incident at 8:45 A.M.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fire Associates Called to Milpitas Blaze

Date and Time: 14 January 2012, 1936 hours page-out, 2000 arrival on-scene
Agency: Milpitas Fire
Incident Address: 212 Balboa, Milpitas
Type: Full first alarm, special call for Fire Associates.
Details: Moderate size, late model, two-story frame dwelling. Fire on second floor, initial concerns about possible spread to attic. All attack lines from Truck 4 (quint).

Agency Responders:
MLP: E-1, 2 and 301; USAR-1; T-4 and 1; IC-Batt. 19 (Vaughn)
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Released at 2130 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver) and Jerry Haag
-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Monday, January 9, 2012

San Jose Senior Center Fire Goes to 3 Alarms

At 0207 hours on January 9, John Whiteside heard an annoying buzzing sound and soon realized it was his fire pager for San Jose Fire Dept. assistance. San Jose had a 3rd alarm structure fire and needed a Fire Support Unit on scene for fire fighter rehabilitation. John notified Sonitrol, our paging service, and started toward Fire Station 6 to drive FSU-2. He departed the station at 0250 and was soon on scene. A 9-unit, 2-story condo was ablaze within a large retirement community near Capitol Expressway and Alum Rock Avenue, the fire building being 2645 Madden Avenue, cross of Alexander Avenue.

SJ Engine 5 had just been designated asRehab when John advised SJ Fire by radio that he was at Staging, and E5 advised to follow them in. Due to congestion, they had to park about ½ block out. E5s crew helped transport necessary supplies to the Rehab area, next to the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse interior was being used as a processing center for the displaced occupants. The firefighters were being Rehabed outside on the patio under a semi-permanent tent. It was convenient since there were lights, tables and chairs, restrooms, potable water and electric outlets for hot liquid preparation. The morning temperature was just above freezing. Firefighters assisted in making coffee as John waswalking in the last of the supplies. The Red Cross made arrangements for the displaced residents. Five occupants were taken to hospitals for observation and treatment.

A very good fire stop was made by SJFD and only 4 units were burned. John returned FSU #2 to Sta 6 at 0630 hours.
-- Report Submitted by John Whiteside

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Run of the Year on New Years Day

The arrival of the new year brought with it Fire Associates' first run of 2012.

Responder John Whiteside was monitoring his emergency radio as 2012 arrived. At approximately 0100, San Jose dispatched afull first alarm (3 engines, 2 trucks, 2 BCs, and Med 30) to a report of a bedroom fire at 429 N. Fifth Street, between Washington and Empire Streets. Upon arrival, Engine 1 reported a fully involved older, single-story house. A second alarm was requested and shortly thereafter a third alarm was called. Upon hearing the third alarm request, which triggers Fire Associates’ responses for San Jose fires, John contacted the answering service, Sonitrol, to say he was responding with Fire Support Unit #2 and to page out the info after San Jose Fire Dispatch calls with the location data.

John picked up FSU #2 at SJFD Station 6 and proceeded to the fire. He encountered heavy auto and pedestrian traffic in downtown San Jose about 0140 due to New Year’s celebrations, but finally got through the congestion and arrived at the fire scene. It took awhile, but John finally got the supplies setup for Rehab. Later, responder Mike Chappell arrived from Gilroy, over 30 miles away, to assist. The favorites were hot chocolate and Clif Bars. The temperature was in the mid-30 degrees, but not yet freezing.

A 5-inch supply line pumped by Engine 8, to Engine 1, was laid southward from Empire St. across the Milpitas-San Jose Union Pacific rail line, blocking trains on that route. The involved house was located adjacent to, and south of, the tracks, on the west side of Fifth Street. It looked like a total loss.

FSU #2 was released about 0430 and John finally got home at 0500.
-- Report Submitted by John Whiteside