Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Spell of 3-Fires-In-1-Day Livens Up October

After a period of no activity during the middle of the month of October, that all changed for Fire Associates members on Sunday, October 28. Read on...

San Jose Condos:
Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
The San Jose Fire Department was the first to request our aid. During the early morning hours, a fire broke out in a garage complex attached to a row of seven, two-story condominiums. The first-arriving engine company reported that a garage was on fire at 3131 Creekside Drive in San Jose's Berryessa neighborhood. By the time the fire crew had positioned the engine and deployed their hose lines, the single garage fire had spread to 3 garages. A second alarm was immediately called and the increasing inferno eventually grew into a 4-alarm event. Only the two end-unit condos and garages escaped fire damage, but all units experienced some water or smoke damage.

Fire Associates was paged at 8:02 A.M. John Whitaker had been listening on his emergency scanner and immediately responded in Fire Support Unit 2. He was joined on scene by Ron Green, George Hoyt and Mike Chappell. Because the narrow streets in the area were lined with parked cars, fire apparatus were filling the streets when FSU 2 arrived on scene. The Support Unit was positioned several hundred yards from the Rehab location and all food and beverages had to be walked to the location.

Photo By John Whitaker
As the firefighting efforts wound down, Rehab became a very busy place. All four portable, 6-man benches (ours and the two off SJFD Med 30) were quickly filled with tired firefighters. A folding table was set up to serve coffee and nutrition bars with the coffee being made at the Support Unit and then transferred into air pots.
John returned FSU 2 to quarters at Station 6 just before noon.
 -- Report submitted by John Whitaker

San Jose House Fire:
The day's second call for assistance came at 9:32 P.M., just as the San Francisco Giants were wrapping up their World Series sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
A house was on fire on San Jose's east side...and the 3-alarm fire was threatening to spread to adjacent structures. John Whiteside responded in FSU 3 and submitted this report:
"I was watching TV as the local team was celebrating its World Series championship, and listening to my fire scanner. The San Jose Fire Department was fighting a residential fire in east-central San Jose at 10292 Murtha Drive at South White Road. As the fire escalated in alarm levels, I prepared to respond to the scene with a Fire Support Unit. When the third alarm trigger was reached, I notified Sonitrol, our answering service, for the response page and responded to SJS Station 35 to take FSU 3 to the scene -- going en route at 2130 hours.
At the scene, I was joined by members Bruce Dembecki, Ron Green, George Hoyt and guest, Walter Huber. Bottled water, Gatorade, lemonade and CLIF bars and were provided, as well as 2 folding bench sets for the firefighters in Rehab. Around 2300 hours, some fire units on scene were re-dispatched to a minor fire at a local high school. FSU 3 was released and returned to quarters by 2330 hours."
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside
San Jose's 3rd Fire:

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose

On Monday morning, October 29, the third multi-alarm fire in San Jose in less than 24 hours occurred in a large, abandoned structure.  Located at 19600 Almaden Road, the fire consumed the former home of the Almaden Valley Gymnastics Club. Don Gilbert felt that it was his turn to take a support unit, so he drove Fire Support Unit 2 to its second fire of the day.
The very large, concrete tilt up structure was fully ablaze when fire crews arrived. The building had been abandoned since the successful Club had been disbanded in 2006 after 32 years of existence. A San Jose City redevelopment sign out in front of the property stated that the lot was to be the site of several new, single-family homes. Firefighters began an interior attack on the fire, but retreated after reporting swimming pools and several water-filled landing pits inside the building. A master stream off Truck 13 was set up in front of the building and hose lines were extended along the sides of the fire towards the rear. Although the exterior walls were concrete, the wide open floor area was spanned by large timbers that provided fuel to the fire and threatened to collapse as the incident progressed.
Photo By John Whitaker
Fire Associates set up on the shoulder of Almaden Road, directly in front of the incident. It was a very foggy, fall morning and firefighters enjoyed several pots of hot coffee. As the morning commute traffic picked up in the area, Rehab was broken down at approximately 8:30 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Saturday, October 13, 2012

FASCV Provides Assistance at Sunnyvale Blaze

At approximately 1:10 P.M. on Saturday, October 13, FASCV President Bob Gundrum was departing a shopping center at the intersection of Lawrence Expressway and Lakehaven Drive in Sunnyvale. Not normally something we write about in this blog, but when he observed a large column of smoke rising above the shopping center, it became an item of interest.
As Bob described the scene, "...1017 Lakehaven, a single-level single-family dwelling, was 3 lots north of the (shopping center) driveway and the garage area was well involved as I drove past. Noticing a hydrant on the corner of Lakehaven and Lakemuir, I parked well clear of the hydrant."
Photo By David Thompson
Bob immediately set about to provide some logistical assistance to the arriving fire crews.
A phone discussion with long-time FASCV member Len Williams indicated that the organization had been requested from the field and that Len would be bringing the support unit. In the meantime, members Dan Wong and Jerry Haag arrived and provided water that they had in their personal vehicles. FSU 1 did arrive on the scene and provided Rehab assistance until it was released at 4:20 P.M.
Sunnyvale fire apparatus on the scene were:

Engines - 1, 2, 4, 40, 5, 6 and 60
Trucks - 1 and 2
Rescue - 2
IC - Lt. A.J. Berrien (Battalion 20)
A special call was made for Santa Clara City Fire - Rescue 2 (for breathing support).
FASCV Members present were: Ron Green, Bob Gundrum, Jerry Haag, George Hoyt, Mike Wagner, Len Williams, Dan Wong and Guest, Walter Huber.
-- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

FASCV Joins Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Relay


“What was all that noise?” ...that’s what many San Francisco Bay Area residents must have been saying as a caravan of emergency vehicles made their way up the Peninsula on Thursday, October 4th.
With “Code 3” lights and sirens blaring, a fleet of approximately 20 antique, classic and in-service emergency response vehicles joined the 23rd Annual Peninsula Firefighters Burn Relay. The event benefited the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF). The non-profit organization is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of burn survivors and promoting burn prevention education in the community.

Fire Support Units 1 and 2 are lined up next to a
Moffet Field Fire Battalion Chief vehicle.
Along the relay route, the Burn Foundation collected donations raised by local fire and public safety agencies. Money was raised through personal donations and annual community events, including golf tournaments, pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners. Stops were made at 16 fire stations in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.

Starting at 8:30 A.M., members of fire departments and emergency response agencies worked their way up the Peninsula. The convoy started at the Moffett Field Fire Department and traveled nearly 40 miles north, ending at the San Francisco Fire Department Training Center at the corner of 19th and Folsom. Fire Associates was asked by event organizers to join this year’s relay to provide cold water and Gatorade to the events’ participants. In response to this request, Fire Support Units 1 and 2 joined in the activities.

During the day, a light breakfast was served at the Moffett Field Fire Department, mid-morning refreshments were provided at the Menlo Park Fire Department, lunch was served at Foster City Fire Station No. 28, an ice cream social was held at Colma Fire Station No. 85, and dinner was provided by the San Francisco Black Firefighters Organization.

Burn Relay Emergency Vehicles proceed up The El Camino.
By the end of the relay, $66,125 was raised to support the many programs of the Southern California-based organization. Programs benefiting from these funds include the Foundation’s annual week-long residential camp for child burn survivors, Champ Camp.

Alisa Ann Ruch was a young Southern California girl who was burned over 97% of her body and lived only 5 weeks in the hospital. Following her death in 1971, her mother joined with firefighters and medical professionals to create a foundation to prevent burn injuries by teaching "Stop, Drop and Roll." Since the Foundation started, other burn-related services have been added not only in Southern California, but Northern and Central California as well.

For more information on the organization, please visit

Saturday, October 6, 2012

PayPal Added to Fire Associates Donation Options

You may have noticed a change to the left-hand column of the Fire Associates blog (when viewing on a computer).
Fire Associates has added a PayPal account to the available options for donating to our all-volunteer organization. Donors can now contribute to FASCV using a credit card through the PayPal link on our blog.
When on your computer, scroll down our blog page and you'll see the "Donate" button on the left. Mobile device viewers must scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "View Web Version" link.
Give it a try, if you wish (we never turn down donations!).
As the donor, you will receive an e-mail confirming the details of the donation. This will serve as your tax record. Remember, FASCV is a non-profit, tax deductible organization per Federal tax code, Section 501(c)4.
As the PayPal client, FASCV will receive an e-mail notifying us of the donation and confirming the transfer of money to FASCV's checking account.
Thanks goes to our Blogmaster, John Whitaker and Treasurer, Cliff Smith for working on this donation option.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Firefighters Tackle A Structure Fire On A Very Hot Day

Photo By John Whitaker
The members of Fire Associates don't get too many requests for assistance at fires that involve small, detached sheds. But, on this very hot, hot, hot day, the 1:46 P.M. call for our help on Wednesday, Oct. 3 made perfect sense.
With temperatures hovering right around the 100-degree mark, the fire quickly spread to a near-by perimeter fence, power pole and palm tree. The fire involved structures behind two residences at 5180 and 5190 Leigh Ave. - near its intersection with Los Gatos Almaden Road.
John Whiteside was listening to the incident on his emergency scanner and called San Jose Fire Dispatch to see if FASCV could be of assistance in Rehab. The reply from the IC was "Yes", so John responded in Fire Support Unit 3 and then put out a page that he was going to the fire. Responding to that message were FASCV members George Hoyt and John Whitaker.
Photo By John Whitaker
Rehab was set up on Leigh Ave. just across the wide street from the fire's location. Before FSU-3 arrived, firefighters had already staked out a Rehab site on a lawn area under a large tree. The cool grass and adequate shade provided a perfect rest area for hot and weary crews. Cold water, lemonade and Gatorade were high on the list of priorities as rehydration became a primary concern. In addition to these liquids, firefighters also enjoyed some banana bread provided the the homeowner at the Rehab location.  
Complicating the overhaul process was the fire's proximity to Leigh High School. Located across the intersection from the fire, students were leaving the school shortly after the fire began and had to be steered around the rehab area. This, in addition to parents driving into the area to pick up their students, made traffic control a little more challenging than usual. Fire Associates members broke from their usual Rehab duties and assisted with the traffic situation.

FSU-3 was released from service at approximately 4:15 P.M.
-- Report Submitted By John Whitaker

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Milpitas Kitchen Fire Causes Fire Associates Response

It was Tuesday morning, October 2, when the Milpitas Fire Department put out a request for Fire Associates. Located at 456 N Abbott Avenue, an apparent stove top fire had spread into the kitchen cabinets and up into the attic space. Don Gilbert responded to the 10:12 A.M. call in Fire Support Unit 2. He was joined on scene by FASCV member Dan Wong.

Don reported that the fire probably would have stayed at a single alarm had it not been for the very warm weather. The Santa Clara Valley has been going through a spell of very hot weather and temperatures were climbing as the sun rose in the sky on this early Fall morning. Fire crews were hot and tired when cold water and Gatorade were provided in the Rehab area. Milpitas and Fremont fire crews were on hand to attack the 2-alarm blaze.