Thursday, November 22, 2012

FASCV Called to Thanksgiving Day Fire In San Jose

Photo By John Whitaker
There's a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. One thing to add to your list for next year -- be thankful your residence didn't burn down on Thanksgiving Day.
That was not the case for several families in a San Jose condominium complex this past Thursday.
On Thanksgiving Day evening, at approximately 8:25 P.M., the San Jose Fire Department was called to 938 Willowleaf Drive for an attic fire. First-arriving fire crews reported flames were already through the roof. This prompted a quick call for a second alarm, followed by a request for a third alarm and mutual aid.
Fire Associates members also sprung into action. Don Gilbert responded to San Jose Station 6 to get Fire Support Unit 2, while John Whitaker and his son Jeff, who was visiting for the holiday, headed to the fire scene. They were later joined by FASCV members Dan Wong and George Hoyt. Upon arrival, a rehab area was quickly established on a lawn area adjacent to the involved structure.

Photo By John Whitaker
Initially, most of the fire was in the common attic space. As firefighters began with an interior attack, the flames spread down into the living space on the second floor of the townhouse unit. When the ceilings began to collapse, some of the drywall fell onto firefighters who were advancing up the interior staircase. Two firefighters were injured with one firefighter requiring hospitalization. A vacate order was quickly given and the operation moved into a defensive mode.
Although most firefighters were full of turkey and all the trimmings, they were still glad to have cold water, Gatorade, Clif bars and hot coffee available in Rehab. Rehab was in operation until most crews were released at approximately 11:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mountain View Fire Dept. Calls for FASCV Assistance

Date and Time: 11-11-2012, 0353 hours
Agency: Mountain View

Incident Address: 722 Sonia Way, Mountain View
Type: Second alarm

Agency Responders:
MTV: E-1, 2, 3, 4, 5; T-1; R-1; IC-Batt. 18 (B/C Owen)
PAF: R-2, BS-2, Batt-6
MOF: T-6

Details: Small, single-story, frame dwelling. Heavily involved upon arrival of first unit. The single occupant, who was also the RP, self-evacuated on advice of dispatcher. He reportedly told the dispatcher he was trying to light his fireplace. It was a cold night.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 0430, released: 0555 hours.
FASCV Responders: Haag (driver), Green. 

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FASCV Goes to 2nd Alarm Blaze in Santa Clara

Date and Time: 11-10-2012, 1452 hours
Agency: Santa Clara City
Incident Address: 2215 Capistrano Drive, Santa Clara
Type: Second alarm

Details: Large, two-story, frame dwelling. Good save, rebuildable.

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 1545, released: 1900 hours.
FASCV Responders: Len (driver), Green, Haag, Walter Huber (Guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saratoga Fire Escalates into A Second Alarm Incident

Photo By John Whitaker
A word to the wise: When doing your own re-roofing job, don't burn the old shingles in your outdoor fireplace.

This would have been good advice for the residents of a Saratoga house that burned on Wednesday, November 7. Just before 4:00 P.M., Fire Associates was paged by Santa Clara County Fire to a blaze at 14391 Quito Rd. First-arriving firefighters reported an active fire on the roof and the incident quickly went to a 2nd alarm. Sparks from the BBQ/incinerator had ignited the roof of the ranch-style home.

Responding for FASCV were John Whitaker and John Whiteside in Fire Support Unit 2. The Support Unit approached the scene from the south after negotiating a long, winding stretch of the narrow, mostly rural roadway lined with some exclusive homes. The FSU was met on scene by members Jerry Haag, George Hoyt and guest, Walter Huber.
Photo By John Whitaker

Firefighters were faced with several obstacles in reaching the fire. The sprawling, 3,800 square-foot residence was located up a narrow driveway and was well off the main street. County Engines 8 and 3 were positioned on the driveway with all other arriving units staged out on the street. This necessitated the arriving Sheriff's officers to completely block off the road to all non-emergency traffic.

Fortunately, a hydrant was located directly opposite the residence and a 5-inch supply line was snaked up the steep driveway to the two engine companies. Even with the efficient efforts of the fire crews on hand, damage was extensive to a majority of the structure's wood shake roof.

Rehab was set up at the base of the driveway on the property of an adjoining neighbor. With the quickly approaching darkness, and fire crews putting out the remaining hot spots, lighting the Rehab area was a first priority. All four of our FSU's scene lights were used, with one of the portable tripod lights used to remotely light a very dark stairway that lead down the hill from the home to the Rehab area.

The second priority was getting some cold water and Gatorade to hot and tired firefighters. This was done with the assistance of County EMS paramedics who helped to ferry the bottles of liquid up the hill. As the effort wound down into overhaul mode, crews were released into Rehab and burritos were provided as a hot meal. Fire Support Unit 2 was released after the last of the crews were fed and was back in quarters at approximately 8:30 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Saturday, November 3, 2012

FASCV Members Attend Van Wormer Funeral

Photo By John Whitaker
On Saturday morning, November 3, several members of Fire Associates attended the funeral of Cal Fire Battalion Chief, Rob Van Wormer. Several FASCV members worked with Rob in the Volunteers In Prevention (VIP) program at the Morgan Hill headquarters of the Santa Clara Unit (SCU). The 47-year-old battalion chief died unexpectedly on Saturday evening, Oct. 27, while on assignment in Santa Cruz, CA. He was in Santa Cruz working on an investigation when he lost consciousness and was rushed to a local hospital.
Because of an expected large turn out from family, friends and members of dozens of fire services throughout the state, the funeral was held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. FASCV members known to be attending the service were Bruce Dembecki, Mike Chappell, John Whitaker and John Whiteside. Our Fire Support Unit 2 was brought to join with dozens of fire rigs in attendance to show their support for the family and respect for a fellow firefighter.
The casket was brought to the service atop the San Jose Fire Museum's 1931 Mack fire engine. Its use was requested by the family through Cal Fire and the San Jose Fire Department. The funeral procession left Oak Hill Cemetery, traveled down Monterey Rd. and then proceeded through a gauntlet of fire rigs before entering the HP Pavilion. It was quite a memorable sight as all the rigs had their Code 3 lights activated and the fire crews were standing in salute.
We join with others to extend our deepest condolences to Rob's family, friends and everyone at Cal Fire. RIP Chief Van Wormer.
  • John Whitaker's photos from the funeral can be viewed at:  Rob Van Wormer
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker