Saturday, June 30, 2012

FASCV Responds to Early Morning Wake-up Call in Sunnyvale

Date and Time: June 30, 2012, 0400 hours
Agency: Sunnyvale Fire
Incident Address: 888 Persimmon Ave., Sunnyvale
Type: Second alarm
Details: Single-family, detached dwelling. Exterior fire on D-side exposing building and gas meter. One resident, elderly widow, safely evacuated.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 3, 4, 30; T-1, 2; R-2; Medic 14; IC was Lt. Irizarry
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 0445, released: 0630 hours.
Responders: Len Williams (driver), Ron Green (donuts) and Jerry Haag.
-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Friday, June 29, 2012

TIER 2 Fire Burns Near San Jose Velodrome

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
On Friday, June 29, around 4:00 P.M., the San Jose Fire Department received reports of smoke in the area around the Hellyer Park Velodrome, at Hellyer County Park. As soon as Engine 18 left the station they could see a column of smoke and called for a TIER 1 response. On scene, Engine 18 discovered a fire burning in a grass field near the Velodrome and went to work trying to extinguish. A TIER 2 response was called as the windy conditions quickly pushed the flames around the large field.
In the south west corner of the field, the flames came close to residences and damaged fences on two properties. But, quick action from fire crews prevented any more serious loss.
In addition to the TIER 2 response, Battalion 13 also requested some assistance from a Cal Fire engine driving past, and also Cal Fire Copter 106 and a Cal Fire bulldozer from Morgan Hill. Fire Associates was also called to the scene to provide hydration and rehab to crews.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Bruce Dembecki arrived on scene with Fire Support Unit 3 around 5:10 P.M. just as San Jose's Med 30 was being called away to a structure fire a few miles to the north. With Med 30 gone, and the fire reduced to a few smoldering patches, the IC asked if we could take Support Unit 3 around the fire ground and provide food and drink to the crews in the field.
Meanwhile, Fire Associates member Dan Wong had arrived on scene and was sent to collect meals for the San Jose fire crews. Several hours and 30 Burritos later, the incident was over and Support Unit 3 was released around 8:00pm. The fire totaled around six acres.
-- Report Submitted By Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Victorian Home Burns Near San Jose State Campus

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
A little before 8:30 P.M,. on Thursday June 28, the San Jose Fire Department received reports of smoke coming from a home at 435 S. 7th Street in downtown San Jose. By the time firefighters arrived, many calls had been received, some reporting flame - all reporting smoke. First-due Engine 3 arrived and reported initially light to moderate smoke coming from all windows. As they investigated, they were able to determine that the home was unoccupied, and when they made access they found heavy fire on both the first and second floors, At that time, the fire had broken through the roof, too.
Engine 3 immediately called a second alarm and arriving units were assigned to structure protection on the two homes on either side of the fire building. Conditions inside the home were untenable and it was quickly decided to switch to a defensive strategy. Battalion 1 ordered crews to set up for Ladder Pipe operations and requested a third alarm, which led to a Fire Associates call out.
Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2, and reports that smoke from the fire was visible from Highway 85 and Almaden Expressway, several miles away. Fire Support Unit 2 was on scene less than 40 minutes after the first reports of fire. Bruce was met on scene by Fire Associates members Jerry Haag and John Whitaker, along with John's wife, Liz.
The fire building had been under renovation by the owner and electrical wiring had been replaced earlier in the day. The owner had expected to rent the property out next week. While the cause of the fire was not immediately known, it was evident that the fire was not intentionally set. Firefighters believe the fire was burning unnoticed in the home for some time before smoke was able to escape and draw the attention of neighbors.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
With a fire that was defensive from the onset, and no inside fire fight, it was decided not to establish a formal medical rehab, and instead, Fire Support Unit 2 established a rehydration station on 7th Street. Cold drinks were greatly appreciated by fire crews. After more than 2 hours on scene, Fire Support Unit 2 was released after 11:00 P.M., along with other units on scene. By 12:30 A.M., crews on scene were released with a fresh engine company called to the site to serve as Fire Watch overnight.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2-Alarm Dumpster Fire Results In Hazmat Response

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At approximately 9:00 P.M., on Wednesday, June 27, a fire was reported in a dumpster at the rear of a commercial building at 2000 Concourse Drive in San Jose. Initially dispatched as a smoke investigation arriving firefighters were confronted with a dumpster that was well ablaze, and flames climbing the wall of the building. A first alarm was struck, and when firefighters got inside and discovered heavy smoke and some fire damage on the second floor above the dumpster, a second alarm was called.
Next to the dumpster, firefighters found a canister containing a number of Lithium Ion battery cells that was also burning, and presented a challenge to extinguish. While the structure was cleared and the fire stopped before it spread far into the building, the Li-Ion batteries would constantly reignite. The batteries and the smoke they were emitting upgraded the incident to a Hazmat incident and mutual aid from County Fire's Hazmat 2 team was summoned to the scene, along with Fire Associates.
Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and he was met on scene by members Mike Chappell, Ron Green and Jerry Haag. A Rehab station was set up away from problem area and both hot and cold drinks were popular on a warm summer's evening. Fire Support Unit 2 was on scene from 10:20 P.M. until after midnight before being released. San Jose crews were still working on smoke evacuation and other tasks on scene as late as 2:00 A.M.
-- Report Submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Early Morning Gas Leak Causes Response In Morgan Hill

At approximately 10:30 A.M., on Thursday June 21, workers installing new water mains struck and ruptured a 4-in. gas main at the intersection of W. Main Ave. and Hale Ave. in Morgan Hill. A 911 call was made and County Engine 3 was dispatched from Dunne Hill Fire Station to investigate. With gas hissing out of the excavation and accumulated water bubbling the incident was escalated to a full Hazmat incident, and additional County and Cal Fire resources were dispatched. An extended ETA from PG&E prompted County to request Fire Associates support on the incident.
On scene firefighers set up some protection lines and worked to reduce the potential for a larger problem. Fire Associates member Don Gilbert arrived on scene with Fire Support Unit 3 and was met by member Mike Chappell. Cold drinks were in high demand in the middle of a summer day, and lunch was served to the teams on scene.

Eventually, PG&E arrived but there were difficulties involved in getting the gas main pinched off. Eventually, around 3:00 P.M., the leak was sealed and all units packed up and went home.
-- Report Submitted by Don Gilbert

Multiple Calls Report House Fire In Monte Sereno

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Shortly before 3:00 A.M., on Thursday June 21, Santa Clara County Fire Department received 911 calls reporting a house on fire at 18125 Constitution Avenue in Monte Sereno. First in Engine 8 reported that more than half the house was fully engulfed when they arrived, and firefighters called a second alarm. Motorists on Highway 17 more than a mile away were calling to report the very visible flames.
Firefighters switched to a defensive operation and worked to contain the blaze to the house of origin and protect neighboring properties. An ember patrol was established to check area roofs and surrounding vegetation. In addition to the house heat destroyed a car parked close to the house, and severely damaged a large limousine parked more than 30 feet away.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
The second alarm call resulted in a request being made to Fire Associates for a Fire Support Unit soon after 3:00 A.M. and Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 on scene by 4:00 A.M. Fire Associates members Jerry Haag and Ron Green were on scene when Bruce arrived, bringing the Support Unit loaded with donuts. While Fire Associates members were busy serving coffee and donuts, their jackets and sweaters were put to use warming the residents, who escaped their house with only the clothes they were sleeping in.
Fire Support Unit 2 was released from the incident and was on the way back to San Jose Fire Station 6 by 6:00 A.M.
-- Report Submitted By Bruce Dembecki

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FASCV Requested for San Jose Grass Fire

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
On June 20, at approximately 4:30 P.M., San Jose Fire and Cal Fire dispatched resources to a grass fire at Coyote Creek Golf Drive and Hwy. 101, on the east side, between Morgan Hill and San Jose. It was a hot, dry afternoon with a Burn Index above 80, and enroute SJ BC 13 Juan Diaz requested Fire Associates to respond. Soon it was upgraded from a Tier I response to a Tier II, with South Santa Clara County Fire and Cal Fire sending a response of engines, aircraft and dozers. About 20 acres of hillside and valley burned before being contained. No structures were threatened.
John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 at 4:50 P.M. and members Bruce Dembecki, Ron Green, Mike Chappell and guest Walter Huber arrived and assisted John in setting up Rehab. Lemonade, water, Gatorade, and CLIF bars were dispensed and 40 burritos were picked up by Ron and Walter. Crews were fed about at 7:30 P.M. and FSU 3 was released at 8:15 P.M. Many photos were made by Bruce who had an opportunity to ride the fireground and perimeter with BC 13.
-- Reported By John Whiteside

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Morgan Hill House Fire Has Everyone Busy

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Shortly before 4:15 P.M., on Wednesday June 13, Santa Clara County Fire responded to reports of thick black smoke coming from a house at 15195 La Rocca Court, Morgan Hill. Arriving units from Cal Fire and County Fire were confronted with Bedroom fire that was billowing smoke out the rear and now front of the house. A second alarm was called and units from as far away as Cupertino in the north and Gilroy in the South were added to the dispatch, along with Fire Associates.
In the end, fire damage in the house was limited to 2 bedrooms and a hallway, while there was smoke and water damage, along with some issues in the attic that needed the attention of fire crews and causing a rather extensive overhaul operation.
Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 3 and was met upon arrival by Members Mike Chappell, John Whiteside and Randy Whiteside. It was a hot afternoon and cold drinks were popular as the crews worked to overhaul the property. Support was provided by crews from Gilroy Fire, South County Fire Protection District, Cal Fire, and San Jose Fire, along with the crews from Santa Clara County Fire.
This was Fire Associates seventh response in only six days.
-- Report Submiutted By: Bruce Dembecki

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FASCV Members Respond "Voluntarily" To SJFD Grass Fire

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Around 3:30 P.M., on Tuesday June 12, San Jose Fire Department received several reports of smoke in the area of Story Rd. and Senter Rd. in San Jose. Engine 3 arrived in the area and after some investigation found several small grass fires along the creek bed off Remillard Court, north of Story Rd., and given the number of fires escalated the incident to a TIER response. Battalion 2 established the IC on a hill top looking down on both sides of the fires growing in the creek bed.
The area is known to have multiple homeless encampments and fires in this area as a result are not uncommon.
Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki had Fire Support Unit 2 out doing an ice run after a very busy Monday and was in the area of the incident. Also in the area was Fire Associates member George Hoyt. Once the fire had been controlled, Fire Support Unit 2 was sent down to circulate amongst the fire crews working the site to provide ice cold drinks and CLIF bars, which were greatly appreciated.
The incident became more complicated when one of the local inhabitants rushed over to report a "neighbor" had broken her leg. The crew of Engine 2 went in search of the victim, while Truck 1 and Squad 26 were dispatched to handle the medical call, made more difficult by the need to extricate the woman, who was stuck down a gully near the creek bed.
With the fire extinguished, and the fire crews rehydrated, Fire Support Unit 2 was released at around 5:30 P.M.
  • Bruce's photos from this incident can be seen at:  Grass Fire
-- Report by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two More Fires On A Very Hot Day Keep Fire Crews And FASCV Busy

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At 3:48 P.M., on a very hot June day, Santa Clara County Fire began receiving reports of a house on fire at 16301 Los Gatos Almaden Road, Los Gatos. Arriving units reported the house well ablaze and due to the more than 95 degree weather B/C 3A Chief Smith requested Fire Associates assistance on the Full First. The fire escalated quickly to a second alarm, before the heat started taking a toll on the fire crews. Multiple firefighters experienced heat stress like symptoms and the incident turned into a major EMS activation to care for the first responders.
Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by Bruce Dembecki, Mike Chappell and Fire Associates guest Walter Huber. In what was certainly the busiest Rehab section anyone can remember seeing, Firefighters were cooling down with all the tools in the Fire Associates tool box, including misting fans, large amounts of cold water, lemonade and Gatorade, tents to keep the sun away and more. With ice melting quickly and more misting fans in demand a call went out for a second Fire Support Unit. John Whiteside responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 3 arriving in time with fresh supplies.
The heat took it's toll however, and eventually five firefighters and a police officer were transported to area hospitals for continuing care. With the heat causing havoc on fire crews a third alarm was requested to work the fire, while first and second alarm units were tied up either in Rehab or working the EMS aspect of the incident giving medical care to their fellow fire fighters.
Around 7:00 P.M., a two alarm fire broke out in nearby Campbell, and several units on the fire ground in Los Gatos were cut free to respond to the Campbell incident, including John Whiteside who took Fire Support Unit 3. Meanwhile in Los Gatos meals were obtained by Fire Associates members and brought to the fireground.
• Bruce's photos are at: Los Gatos Fire
• News story at: Los Gatos House Fire
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
After being on scene for almost an hour supporting Fire Support Unit (FSU) #2 in rehab at a 4th alarm house fire in Los Gatos, FSU #3 and John Whiteside were requested by County Fire around 1900 hours to respond to a 2nd alarm at 231 Shelley Avenue, off Bascom Avenue, in Campbell, less than 2 miles away. The fire was in a two-story townhouse complex, with flames and smoke from a corner on the second floor at the street side. County Fire units that had cleared the Los Gatos fire were re-dispatched and quickly arrived on scene.
Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag, and Ron Green assisted John in setting up rehab, followed by Mike Chappell and guest Walter Huber from the Los Gatos fire with extra meals. Don Gilbert in FSU #2 arrived after loading up equipment from the previous call. Gatorade, water, lemonade and CLIF bars were provided. Mike and Ron picked up additional meals for the fire crews. One more firefighter was transported to hospital from this event after receiving a laceration. The fire was contained to one unit, and the Red Cross assisted the 3 displaced occupants. John and FSU #3 got back to quarters in San Jose Station 35 at 2220 hours.
• Photos are at: Campbell Townhouse Fire
-- Reports submitted by John Whiteside and Bruce Dembecki

FSU-1 Goes to Santa Clara On A Hot June Day

Date and Time: June 11, 2012, 1400 hours
Agency: Santa Clara City Fire
Incident Address: 3511 Wehner Dr., Santa Clara
Type: Second alarm
Agency Responders:
SNC: E-1, 2, 3, 4, 10; T-2, 8; R-2; HM-9; M-16;  IC was Batt-1 (Dellamaggiore)
Details: Large two-story apartment complex, wood frame construction, non-sprinklered.  Fire on second floor. Hot day. Hydration, sun shelter, mist cooling fan most welcome.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 1430, released: 1600 hours.
Responders: Gundrum (driver), Green, Haag, Dembecki, Chappell, Hoyt, Walter Huber (guest).
-- Report Submitted By Jerry Haag

Friday, June 8, 2012

FASCV Called to 2-Alarmer in Santa Clara

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date and Time: June 08, 2012, 1449 hours
Agency: Santa Clara City Fire
Incident Address: 3282 St. Ignatius Place, Santa Clara
Type: Second alarm
Agency Responders:
SNC: E-1, 3, 5, 7; T-2, 8; HM-9;  IC was Batt-1 (Titus)
CNT: E-11; T-1; Batt-2
SJS & SNY: station fills
Details: Large three-story apartment complex, wood frame construction, non-sprinklered.  Concealed fire in second and third floor walls and ceiling.

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 1520, released: 1700 hours.
Responders: Gundrum (driver), Carr, Green, Haag, Dembecki, Walter Huber (guest).
• Bruce's photos at: Santa Clara Apartment Fire
-- Report Submitted By Jerry Haag