Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Vegetation Fire Not A Surprise During Dry Year

On Tues., Dec. 31, at approximately 7:15 A.M., John Whiteside was having a cup of coffee when FASCV President Jerry Haag called about radio traffic dispatching a fire on Mt. Hamilton, east of San Jose. The fire was reported to be  several miles west of the Lick Observatory on Calif. Hwy. 130. John knew a controlled burn was being planned, so he called Cal Fire dispatch to inquire if this was that fire, or something. In addition, he wanted to know if  Cal Fire VIPs or Fire Associates would be requested. The answer was, “A wildland fire, 40 acres with a potential of 200”, and please respond Fire Associates!"
John informed Jerry of the request as both FASCV members were scheduled to support a continuing County Fire training exercise that afternoon. Jerry told John to take the fire call and he would handle the training exercise. John’s personal vehicle was in the shop, so he called member Don Gilbert to inform him, ask if he could go, and would he pick John up at home? Then, John notified Sonitrol to page out the dispatch. En route to San Jose Station 6 to get Fire Support Unit 2, they picked up breakfast to eat en route -- a trip of approximately 23 miles, on a curvy, hilly road. The fire was located within Joseph Grant County Park, 2 miles east of the main entrance.
Cal Fire’s Morgan Hill headquarters had dispatched a response at 5:27 A.M., eventually including air tankers, copters, dozers, hand crews, engines, and requested mutual aid engines and water tenders from San Jose, Spring Valley Volunteers, and Santa Clara County Fire Departments. Most of the forest fire stations have been closed for the winter.
After distributing drinks to the rigs on Mt. Hamilton Road, FSU-2 was directed to enter the fire area at Twin Gates Trailhead (about 1 mile west of Cal Fire Station 12, Smith Creek) and proceed off-road to the head of the fire -- now no longer a threat. On a hilltop near the Command Post, rehab was set up and supported lunch distribution at approximately 2:00 P.M. FSU-2 was released and reached the valley floor around 4:00 P.M. Upon FSU-2's arrival back in San Jose, the on-duty fire crew at Station 6 voluntarily washed the rig, which was covered with a fine-powder dust.

This was the last run for 2013.
Resources that were requested or on scene (from Cal Fire - Morgan Hill):
  • Cal Fire:  Battalions 1600, 1605, and 1611; Prevention 1621; Captain 1632; Engines 1661, 1662, 1664, 1666, and 1681; CZU Engines 1766, 1768, and 1769; Ben Lomond Crews 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; CZU Dozer 1741; BEU Dozer 4641; Copters 104 and 406; and Air Tankers 80 and 81.
  • Spring Valley Volunteers:  Chiefs 1 and 2; Engines 22 and 52; and Patrol 22.
  • San Jose Fire:  Battalion 2; Engines 2, 18, 13, and 31; and Water Tenders 2, 13, and 18.
  • Santa Clara County Fire:  Engines 301 and 306.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Sunday, December 29, 2013

House Burns In Rural Area of Morgan Hill

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At 3:15 A.M. on Sunday morning, Dec. 29, Morgan Hill Fire received reports of a house ablaze at 324 Casa Loma Road in an unincorporated area of Morgan Hill. Responding units included South Santa Clara County Fire, Morgan Hill Fire, Cal Fire, and San Jose Fire Units.
The home owner had been awoken by functioning smoke detectors and upon a search of the home found downstairs was clear, but upstairs was somewhat smokey. Outside, they discovered a chimney fire and set about attacking the fire with a garden hose. They quickly realized the fire was out of control and evacuated, finding pets and getting out, while calling 911. Fire units making the trek out to Casa Loma Rd. discovered a two-story residence fully engulfed in flames.
Water Tenders were used to establish a water supply from a hydrant back at the Cinnabar Hills Golf course while engine crews worked to keep the fire out of the vegetation and nearby exposures safe. The home was completely destroyed, with nothing more than the original chimney and half a wall here and there remaining.
Fire Associates were requested shortly before 5:00 A.M. and were on the road shortly thereafter. John Whiteside brought Fire Support Unit 3 to the scene and was met by Bruce Dembecki. Coffee and donuts were the order of the day, as temperatures were in the low 30s upon arrival of FSU-3. Fire Associates remained on scene until the night crews were replaced by a fresh shift to oversee the mop-up operations, and were released soon after 9:00 A.M. Fire Associates left the fireground at 9:20 A.M. and FSU-3 was back at San Jose Fire Station 35 by 10:00 A.M.
Thanks to the home owners functioning smoke detectors, no-one was injured, though there was nothing left of the house.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Fire Involves Commercial Building in Sunnyvale

Photo By David Thompson
Date and Time: 12-24-2013, 0706 hours
Agency:  Sunnyvale Public Safety
Incident Address: 222 Caspian Dr., Sunnyvale
Type: Second Alarm
Details: Fire in roofing material of a sprinklered, single-story, tilt-up, large commercial/R&D Building.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 60; T-1, 2; R-2; Batt. 1 (IC-Rushmeyer)
MTV: Station fill
SNC: E9 covered SNY Sta. 2
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Released: 0815 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quick Attacked Douses 2-Alarm Apartment Fire In San Jose

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
After a full day on scene with San Jose Firefighters for their Typhoon Haiyan fundraiser event, Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki had just finished restocking the ice in the Fire Associates freezer at Fire Station 6 and was ready to head home around 4:30 P.M. when the Station bells went off. Engine 6 and others were dispatched to a report of a multi-unit apartment building on fire at 892 Delmas Ave.
While Engine 6 rocketed out the door, Bruce took a couple of minutes to load some ice back into Fire Support Unit 2 and casually headed off to the nearby fire ground. Truck 30 reported a large column of smoke visible from their fire station, and Engine 3 quickly reported themselves on scene, with heavy smoke on all sides of the building and flames shooting out of the second floor windows on both sides of the buildings. Additionally, they reported the exposure on the Bravo side was at risk and immediately requested a second alarm.
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Bruce let San Jose Fire dispatchers know that FSU-2 was attaching to the incident and unusually arrived on scene - well before the second alarm units. After checking in with Med 30, it was decided that FSU-2 would establish informal rehab on the south side of the incident and cold drinks, seating, and snack foods were quickly set up for fire crews. Fire Associates member John Whitaker also responded to the scene, having heard the initial radio traffic and being aware that FSU-2 was on scene.
Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire, but not before 17 people were displaced by the fire - fortunately no one was injured. Crews enjoyed the cold drinks over in Rehab and at 5:40 P.M. FSU-2 was released from the scene and returned to Fire Station 6.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Location of Los Altos Hills Fire Provides Challenge for Firefighters and FASCV Members

Date and Time: 12-19-2013, 1716 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire Dept.
Incident Address: 26060 Newbridge Dr., Los Altos Hills
Type: Second Alarm
Details: Fire in a large, 2-story, single-family dwelling. Well-involved upon arrival of R-14 who laid a 5-in. supply line up a long, steep driveway to initiate fire attack. FASCV member Larry Carr and company also hand-jacked table, ice, water, Gatorade, energy bars, etc. up the same driveway to set-up Rehab. The old guys can still hack it!
Agency Responders:
CNT: E-1, 3, 7, 15, 16, 17; T-1; R-14 (fire attack with 3 2-1/2" lines), 17; Batt. 2, 3, 14 (IC-Bowden)
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Released: 1930 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong.

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sonitrol Services Help FASCV Provide 44 Years of Aid to Local Fire Departments

FASCV President Jerry Haag and Vice President Bob Gumdrum present
Don Herzig of Sonitrol an award of appreciation for the dispatching
services the local security company provides.

Photo By John Whitaker

In November of this year, Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley (FASCV) celebrated 44 years of providing volunteer service to the fire departments of Santa Clara County. Begun in November of 1969, the members of FASCV have been meeting the on-scene canteen and rehab needs of firefighters from all 12 fire agencies located in Silicon Valley. For a non-profit agency to be in existence for 44 years is an achievement all by itself, never mind that fact that our volunteer members have been responding 24/7, in all types of weather conditions.
But, besides the organization's dedicated members, and the many people who donate to the cause, there is another key, unsung member of the team.
Sonitrol - Pacific West Security, Inc. has been providing dispatch services to FASCV since 1980 when former FASCV member Al Brenner arranged for the company to provide free emergency dispatching for FASCV as a community service. Sonitrol is a locally owned, independent franchise affiliated with the Sonitrol Corporation based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. The company maintains offices on Schallenberger Rd. in San Jose for alarm sales, installation, and monitoring.
To recognize the value that Sonitrol adds to the efforts of Fire Associates, FASCV President Jerry Haag, Vice President Bob Gundrum, and former President John Whitaker recently presented the security company with a plaque of appreciation. The plaque reads, "Awarded to Sonitrol of Silicon Valley for Service to Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley Since 1980, December 6, 2013."
Accepting the award was Sonitrol Central Station Manager Don Herzig. Don commented that all the employees at the San Jose office were glad to provide the service to Fire Associates because of the importance of FASCV's service to local fire departments.

-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Monday, November 25, 2013

FASCV Responds to Second Fire of the Day

Date and Time: 11-25-2013, 1713 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire Dept.
Incident Address: 52 Almond Ave., Los Altos
Type: Second Alarm

Details: Fire in a small, single-story, single-family dwelling.

The fire was in a nice little cottage that was probably built in the '20s. Peak roof with usable attic space. The incident started with a report of an electrical fault on the cul-de-sac behind the house. Shortly after arrival of Engine 15 (fire station is right next door) and discovery of live wires on the ground the occupant reported that they smelled smoke in the house. Upon further investigation it was determined that there was fire in the basement with smoke and heat building up. Horizontal ventilation was initiated by removing basement windows and the IC requested a second alarm because of potential fire spread to upper floors. Jerry Haag had been monitoring the radio traffic and immediately called Larry Carr for a response in anticipation of the normal notification from Sonitrol. Larry was on-scene with Fire Support Unit 4 within about 20 minutes and provided rehab for about 2 hours before release. We enjoyed a Togo's sandwich compliments of County Fire.

Agency Responders:
CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 9, 15 (three hand lines), 16; T-1; R-14, 17; BS-2; HM-2; Batt. 3, 14 (IC-Pearson)

FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Released: 1945 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong.

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Santa Clara County Firefighters Respond To A 2-Alarm House Fire In Campbell

Photo By John Whitaker
On Monday, Nov. 25, the peace and quiet of a beautiful Fall morning was broken at 8:37 A.M. when Fire Associates' pagers sounded alerting them to a house fire in Campbell.  Located at 424 Carlyn Ave., a second alarm was called as a fire was burning in the rear of a single-family home. With fire moving into the attic space, Santa Clara County fire crews were challenged by the quickly spreading blaze.

John Whiteside and John Whitaker were both listening to their scanners and heard the IC call for a second alarm. Knowing that alarm level would bring a request for FASCV support, both John's called Don Gilbert to see if he was able to respond. Don lives on the west side of the Valley and would be able to respond much quicker -- if available. Don agreed to go get FSU-2 while John Whitaker went to the scene. They were joined by FASCV members, Jerry Haag, Cliff Smith and Bruce Dembecki.
The usual -- coffee, donuts, Clif Bars, Gatorade and water -- were supplied to the busy firefighters. As the overhaul of the structure wound down, and most of the fire crews were released to return to quarters, FASCV members were also released shortly before noon.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, November 22, 2013

Morgan Hill House Fire Results in a Multi-Agency Response

Photo By John Whitaker
Travel To Incident Proved To Be Eventful

While most people were in bed at 1:15 A.M. on Friday, Nov. 22,. FASCV members were responding to a house fire south of Morgan Hill. Located at 11205 Monterey Highway, the fire was primarily burning in the attic space of a 1-story structure.  John Whitaker responded to the early morning call for assistance in Fire Support Unit 3, with John Whiteside along as passenger.
While the fire was the primary newsworthy event of this response, the trip down to the South Valley proved to have it's own excitement. As FSU-3 drove along southbound U.S. 101, emergency radio traffic reported a vehicle accident southbound, north of Coyote Hills Drive. That location was approximately 2 miles ahead of the FSU!
As the FSU approached, with yellow lights flashing for safety, it was obvious that there was a vehicle facing the wrong direction, up an embankment, in the median of the freeway. In addition, several other vehicles were stopped on the right-hand shoulder. The FSU was the first emergency unit on scene!
John Whiteside exited the FSU and checked on the status of the occupants in all vehicles. Two vehicles had been involved while the other cars had stopped for help. John statused the incident, and reported back to Dispatch via his hand-held radio that all occupants were out of the vehicles and there were no apparent injuries. By that time, a Rural Metro EMS rig arrived followed shortly by a CHP cruiser. With this incident taken over by other "responsibles", the FSU continued on to the original Morgan Hill blaze.
Photo By John Whitaker
The fire began shortly after midnight in a home that was located not far back from the shoulder of Monterey Highway. Fire crews from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill Fire, Cal Fire, Gilroy Fire, and San Jose Fire were all in attendance -- resulting in a 2-alarm "plus" response level. The extra equipment was made necessary because there was no water supply in the area. A water tender from SSCC Fire and two tenders from San Jose were all put into use shuttling water into a portable tank. Needless to say, Monterey Highway was shutdown southbound as the roadway was full of fire rigs!
All occupants of the home were lucky to escape the nighttime blaze as the fire ran the entire length of the attic space. Once knocked down, firefighters went to work emptying the structure of salvageable clothing and household goods -- which were stacked along the shoulder of the highway. The fire proved to be stubborn as it kept smoldering to life well into the wee hours of the morning.
Rehab was established in the median of Monterey Highway directly in front of the structure. Several dozen donuts, coffee, hot chocolate and some water and Gatorade were provided to fire crews and some victims of the fire. It was a cold night, by California standards, and both FASCV members were glad to have put on their long-johns before leaving home. Hot beverages were greatly appreciated by all in attendance. As sunrise approached, FSU-3 was released from duty and put back into service at approximately 5:30 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

San Jose Firefighters Battle Blaze and the Elements

Photo By John Whitaker
It doesn't have to be sunny and hot to have a fire.

That fact was proven on Wednesday, Nov. 20, as Fire Associates was paged to a 2-alarm house fire in South San Jose. Just before the first heavy rainstorm of the season struck the area, the residents of a 2-story house at 109 Rosewell Way came outside to find their garage fully engulfed in flame. By the time the first fire companies arrived on scene (Truck 35 and Engine 27), fire was coming out of almost every window in the structure.

Truck 35 and Truck 13 both set up their master streams and poured thousands of gallons of water and foam on the blaze. Because of the structure's weakened tile roof, firefighters remained outside the building and worked to gain access to the fire from the exterior. Every time it looked like the fire had been knocked down, another flame would pop up and have to be extinguished. Even during the downpours!

When the second alarm was struck, Fire Associates was requested to help assist with rehab. John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 and was met on scene by FASCV members Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker, and Dan Wong. A rehab area was quickly established near the IC and directly across from the burning structure. Since the event happened just before the noon hour, sandwiches and chips were ordered and Dan Wong left to go get the meals.

But, just before the sandwiches arrived back at the fireground, a rainstorm swept through the area soaking everything on scene -- benches, tables, Clif bars, coffee pots and all. Who says you can't have a fire in a rainstorm? But all the crews remaining on scene were served and FSU-3 was released at 3:45 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, November 15, 2013

FASCV Responds to Palo Alto Fire

Date and Time: 11-15-2013, 2323 hours
Agency: Palo Alto Fire Dept.
Incident Address: 2120 Princeton St., Palo Alto
Type: Full First
Details: Fire in a small single-story, single family dwelling.
Agency Responders:
PAF: E-2 (five hand lines), 4, 6; T-6, Medic-2, Batt. 6 (IC-Conn)
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Released: 0115 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver) and JerryHaag.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sacramento Fire Buffs Club Members Visit with Fire Associates In San Jose

Photos By John Whitaker
(Click On Photos for A Larger Version.)
At the request of the Sacramento Fire Buff Club, several FASCV members recently met with two of their members for lunch in San Jose. In attendance were Nik Stroiney and Dean Handy from Sacramento, and Jerry Haag, Don Gilbert, and John Whitaker from FASCV. Sacramento brought along their Fire Support Unit 1, while FASCV arrived with FSU-1 and FSU-2.

It proved to be a mutually beneficial meeting as details were shared about our club activities providing rehab services for our respective fire departments. Of primary interest was a walk-around of the support units and comparing their capabilities.
After lunch, John treated the group to a tour of the San Jose Fire Museum. The Sacramento fire buffs were justifiably impressed with the extent of the Museums' collection of antique and classic fire apparatus!
For more information about the fire support activities in the Sacramento area, go to the group's impressive web site and blog at:  http://www.firebuffs.org/.

-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brush Fire On Hwy. 17 Causes 2nd Alarm Equivalent Response

Photo By John Whitaker
On Wednesday morning, Oct. 23, Santa Clara County Firefighters were dispatched to 2 vegetation fires burning along Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Located on the shoulder of southbound Hwy. 17 north of the Summit Rd. exit, the first of the fires was extinguished rather quickly. However, the second fire, burning closer to Summit Rd., was found to be racing up a steep hillside and threatening homes located above the highway. Cal Fire was also dispatched to the incident, which resulted in the equivalent of a second alarm response.

As the firefighting efforts progressed, County Fire requested the assistance of Fire Associates at 10:29 A.M. Don Gilbert and John Whitaker responded to the fire in Fire Support Unit 2. They were met on scene by FASCV member Dan Wong. Don and John were quick to respond to the call, but very heavy traffic on Hwy. 17 slowed their arrival. They were directed up a dirt road to a clearing near the head of the fire and rehab was established in short order. Shortly after FSU-2 arrived, command of the fire was turned over to Cal Fire. The remaining crews took full advantage of the cold water, Gatorade and lemonade provided, as well as the usual Clif Bars.

As the fire overhaul efforts were winding down, a Cal Fire Utility unit arrived bringing sandwiches, chips and fruit for the weary crews. FASCV provided the beverages, a serving table and benches so the firefighters had a place to sit down and relax in the shade. When the crews were done eating, they returned to the hillside to "wash it down", as the Cal Fire BC requested, and Fire Associates was released from the incident. FSU-2 arrived back at it's "home" at approximately 3:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Saturday, October 19, 2013

County Firefighters Tackle Difficult 2-Alarm House Fire

Photo By John Whitaker
The calm of a warm, Autumn evening was broken for Fire Associates' members when a page was received for help at a 2-alarm house fire. Located at 405 Payne Ave. in Campbell, the fire involved a 2-story home along with 2 vehicles parked in the driveway. Fire Associates (FASCV) member Don Gilbert quickly responded the 4:19 P.M. call in Fire Support Unit 2. He was joined on scene by Jerry Haag, John Whitaker and Dan Wong.
First-arriving firefighters from Santa Clara County Fire found the front of the house and vehicles in the driveway fully ablaze with the fire quickly spreading to the second floor and the roof. The interior of the 2-car garage was already burning and the upper roof was threatening to collapse due to the weight of roof-mounted solar panels. A second alarm was quickly called, which brought additional fire units and FASCV. The challenge was gaining access to the fire as the 2 burning vehicles in the driveway were hampering access to the garage which was fully involved. Additionally, the upstairs interior attack was made a little more complicated by the solar panels which were repelling water and adding to the weight of the roof.
Once the fire was knocked down, there was a need for extensive overhaul. FASCV had set up rehab across the street from the incident as firefighters were in need of a place to sit down and lots of cold water and Gatorade on an 80-degree, late afternoon. As the firefighting efforts extended across the dinner hour, Togo's sandwiches were provided to the tired and hungry crews. Additionally, neighbors also arrived with Starbucks coffee and a plate of cookies for the very appreciative firefighters.
As some of the crews were being released and remaining firefighters were awaiting the arrival of a board-up contractor, FASCV was released at approximately 7:50 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monterey Road Lumber Yard Fire Goes to 3 Alarms

Photo By SJFD PIO Cleo Doss
Shortly before 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, Cal Fire requested SJFD to assist with a lumber yard and firewood facility fire on Monterey Road. Located at 8149 Monterey Rd., the fire was burning just south of the San Jose City limits.   
The owner of Padula's Lumber heard some loud bangs outside his office at around 7:45 A.M. and rushed outside to find two of the buildings in the lumber yard heavily engulfed in flames. He quickly called 911.
When fire crews started receiving reports of a fire at a lumber yard on Monterey Road in the town of Coyote (south of San Jose, north of Morgan Hill), they knew exactly where to go and the problems they would face, having dealt with a fire on the same property in the summer of 2012. Once on scene, crews found several buildings fully engulfed in flames, and called for a second and then third alarm response. Additionally they discovered the hydrants in the area were dry, as they had been the previous year.
With a lack of water presenting a problem, Incident Commander B/C Jamie Norton of Cal Fire/Morgan Hill Fire called for multiple Water Tenders to respond to the scene, and proceeded to set up a water shuttle. Portable tanks were set up by the pumping engines, and a total of 6 Water Tenders from South County Fire, Gilroy Fire, Spring Valley Fire and San Jose Fire worked to maintain the water supply.
Meanwhile, the fire was destroying several buildings on the property, including the lumber yard office. An 1860s era Bunk House was badly damaged, and the next door former Union Pacific railway depot from the 1850s suffered several spot fires on the roof, but was saved by fire crews on the scene. Both the bunk house and the railway depot building were on the Santa Clara County Historic Buildings Registry.
In addition to the initial response and the Water Tenders, the IC called for a second and third alarm, with units from Gilroy Fire, San Jose Fire and Santa Clara County fire filling out those assignments, together with the first alarm responses from Cal Fire/Morgan Hill/SCC and San Jose.
Fire Associates members Don Gilbert and John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 and set up rehab adjacent to the Command Post. They were joined on scene by FASCV members Dan Wong and Bruce Dembecki. FSU 3 provided plenty of coffee and cold drinks, along with a very popular supply of donuts.

By noon, the IC had released units from the visiting agencies, taking care of the remaining overhaul with South County/Morgan Hill units. Fire Support Unit 3 was released at 1:30 P.M. and back in quarters in San Jose by 2:00 P.M
  • Photos by SJFD PIO Cleo Doss can be viewed at:  Lumber Yard Fire
  • A San Jose Mercury News story, with ABC7 video, can be read at:  Lumber Burns
-- Report provided by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, October 7, 2013

Burning Vehicles and Carport Challenge Sunnyvale Firefighters

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date and Time: Oct. 07, 2013, 1400 hours
Agency: Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety

Incident Address: 521 Taylor St., Sunnyvale
Type: Second Alarm
Details:  Fire in a wood-framed carport, exposing two apartment buildings. Engine-1 was fire attack, deployed 3 1-3/4-inch pre-connects and a wyed 2-1/2 inch line. Damage to exposures was prevented by aggressive extinguishment efforts. Carport heavily damaged.

Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 4, 40, 5, 6, 60; T-1, 2; R-2; Medic-14, 54; Batt.-3 (Moretto, IC)
MTV: E-5 (Station coverage)
SNC: E-10 (Station coverage)

FASCV Responding Units:  FSU-1. Arrived: 1430; Released: 1615 hours.
FASCV Responders:  Bob Gundrum (driver), Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag, Dan Wong and Michael Garcia (guest).
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Major 3-Alarm Fire Destroys Sunnyvale Apartments

Photo By Bob Gundrum
Date and Time:  Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 1528 hours
Agency:  Sunnyvale Public Safety
Incident Address:  201 W. California Ave., Sunnyvale (Fire unit actually fronts on N. Murphy Ave.)
Type:  Third Alarm
Details:  Second-floor fire in a large, two-story apartment complex spread quickly to roof space. Truss roof forced early transition to defensive operations. Entire roof collapsed shortly thereafter. Sixteen units rendered unable to be occupied. FASCV dispensed the usual cold water, lemonade, Gatorade and Nutrition items.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 4, 40, 5, 6, 60; T-1, 2; R-2; XSC Med-18, 20; Batt.-1 (Rushmeyer, IC)
SNC: T-8
MTV: Station coverage
FASCV Responding Units:  FSU-1. Arrived: 1545; Released: 2015 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bruce Dembecki, Bob Gundrum, Jerry Haag (driver), Mike Wagner, John Whiteside, Dan Wong and Mike Garcia (guest).
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Fire Associates Participates in Annual Burn Relay

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
For the second year in a row, Fire Support Unit 2 joined the Peninsula Burn Relay. Staged by the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF), the event raises money to enhance the quality of life for burn survivors and promote burn prevention education.
The annual collection of antique, classic and in-service fire rigs travels up the Peninsula from Moffett Field to San Francisco collecting donations at various stops along the way. Escorted by a dozen or more motorcycle police officers, the vehicles all travel with their lights and sirens on as they make their way up the Peninsula. It's quite a sight!
At the conclusion of the event, representatives from the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation said, "Thank you Bay Area for a great Relay! The 24th Annual Peninsula Firefighters Burn Relay raised over $66,000.00 for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation!"
Fire Associates Contributes to Burn Foundation
During the Peninsula Burn Relay, Jerry Haag represented Fire Associates and made a contribution from the organization to the AARBF at Mountain View Fire Station 1.
The Foundation thanked the following supporters:  Moffet Field Firefighters Association, Sunnyvale Public Safety Department and Public Safety Officers Association, Mountain View Fire Department, Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Clara County Fire Department, Palo Alto Fire Department, Atherton Police PAL, Menlo Park Fire Department, Woodside Fire Department, Redwood City Fire Department, Belmont Firefighters Association, Foster City Firefighters Association, San Mateo City Firefighters Association, California Chapter of SPAAMFAA, Central County Firefighters, Millbrae Firefighters, San Bruno Professional Association, South San Francisco Fire Department and Union, Daly City Firefighters, Tom Shafer Income Tax and Real Estate, Half Moon Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Colma Firemen Social Club, San Francisco Fire Department, San Francisco Local 798, San Francisco Black Firefighters Association and all of the supporters that made this event possible!
  • A great selection of photos by Shonda Ranson can be viewed at:  Burn Relay

Monday, September 30, 2013

Palo Alto Fire Dept. Responds to Blaze In 2-Story Home

Photo By Bob Gundrum
Date and Time:  Monday, Sept. 30, 2013: 0928 hours
Agency:  Palo Alto Fire
Incident Address:  975 Colonial Lane, Palo Alto
Type:  Second Alarm
Details:  Fire in a large, two-story dwelling. Rapid fire development led to early defensive operations. Fire was deep-seated in contents and required extensive overhaul. One family displaced. FASCV dispensed a lot of cold water, lemonade, and Gatorade along with lunch service (pizza).
Agency Responders:
PAF: E-2, 3, 4, 5, 6; T-6; BS-2; Medic-2; Batt.-6 (Woodard, IC)
MTV: E-3; T-1; Batt-18
CNT: E-1, 15
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 1000; Released: 1315 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag and Dan Wong.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Santa Clara County Fire Responds to House Blaze In Los Altos Hills

Photo By Walter Huber
Date and Time:  Sept. 28, 2013, 23:45 hours
Agency:  County Fire
Incident Address:  1700 Esberg Road, Los Altos Hills
Type:  Augmented First Alarm
Details:  Fire in a large, single-story dwelling under remodel. Well-developed before initial alarm. IC requested two additional engines about 30 minutes into the incident followed shortly thereafter by a request for Fire Associates. Jerry Haag had responded to SNC Station 9 after hearing first fire unit's arrival report ("Fully involved garage fire spreading into the attic of the house.") and was waiting there for the call. Larry Carr contacted Jerry by telephone (hands-free) and arranged to meet the FSU at the fire.
Agency Responders:
CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 16; R-14, 17; BS-2; HM-2; Batt. 2, 3, 14 (Pearson-IC)
FASCV Responding Units:  FSU-1. Arrived: 0045 (09-29-2013); Released: 0345 hours.
FASCV Responders:  Larry Carr, Jerry Haag (driver).
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Campbell House Fire Causes Response from County Firefighters and Fire Associates

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
On Saturday, September 28, 2013, at 2:38 P.M., units of the Santa Clara County Fire Department responded to reports of smoke and fire showing from a single-story home at 653 Maple Avenue in Campbell. Fire Associates was "paged out" to the incident at 3:17 P.M. and Don Gilbert responded in Fire Support Unit 2.
Firefighters arrived on scene and confirmed a working fire in a back bedroom of the home. An offensive attack was immediately initiated by first-due Engine 6 and the fire was contained within five minutes.
The home was unoccupied at the time of the incident and the majority of damage was confined to the one bedroom and contents. Smoke damage did occur to much of the home as well. There were no injuries reported.
CNT units assigned to this incident were:
Battalion 3, Battalion 2, Engine 6, Engine 11, Engine 10, Truck 5, Rescue 3, Hazmat 2, Safety Officer and the Duty Investigator.
Responding Fire Support Unit:  FSU-2; Don Gilbert (driver)
-- Report courtesy of Craig Allyn Rose

Sunday, September 22, 2013

SC County Fire Douses Blaze In Detatched Garage

Photo By John Whitaker
Date:  Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013; FASCV paged at 4:17 A.M.
Agency:  CNT - County Fire
Location:  1250 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell
Type: 1-alarm, special call for donuts and coffee.

Details:  Fire in detached garage of a single-family residence. Garage a total loss.
Responding Support Unit:  FSU-2, Don Gilbert (driver), John Whiteside passenger
Also Responding:  Jerry Haag, John Whitaker and Dan Wong
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Morgan Hill Firefighters Attack 2-Alarm Structure Fire - But That's Not the Whole Story!

Photo By John Whitaker
At 7:02 P.M. on September 11, Fire Associates was dispatched to a 2-alarm structure fire in Morgan Hill. Located at 2157 Darnis Ct., east of Highway 101 and off of E. Dunne Ave., the fire was burning in a single-family home located in a complex of mostly duplex units.
With Morgan Hill Fire Station 5 located less than a half mile away at E. Dunne Ave. and Hill Rd., firefighters were quick to arrive on scene. But, even with the close proximity, first-arriving fire crews found flames rolling out of a garage and rapidly spreading into the common attic space above the residence. The garage not only contained a heavy fuel load, it also contained a Coleman tent trailer and a workshop space with shop tools and a welding tank.
John Whiteside responded to the fire in Fire Support Unit 3 from it's "home" in South San Jose. John was joined on scene by FASCV member, John Whitaker. The "John-and-John Show" provided lots of cold beverages to fire crews who were working a hot fire on a warm end-of-summer evening. With a lot of overhaul being required, FSU-3 was on scene providing service until approximately 10:30 P.M.
But, FSU-3's release from the scene was not the end of the story. On the way back to San Jose, John Whiteside began to experience difficulty with the rig's power steering. After a short while, the intermittent power steering assist went away entirely and John had great difficulty just turning the wheel. On top of that, he noticed that the amperage gauge on the dashboard was reading lower than normal. As his concern grew that something was wrong, the engine began to overheat and, in John's words, "...the radiator was turning into a Stanley Steamer". Despite that late hour, in a sparcely populated area, he was able to get the rig to an all-night gas station where he called FASCV's top mechanic, Don Gilbert, for assistance.
Don climbed out of bed and met John at the gas station. After looking over the engine compartment, it was obvious to Don what had happened. A belt on the engine had frayed and worn a hole in the top radiator hose. The belt eventually disintegrated and pieces of the belt caused the second belt to come off the pulley. That explained the loss of the alternator, failure of the power steering pump and the loss of water from the radiator. Everything had gone wrong -- all at once!
Based on years of past experience, Don brought along his mechanic's tool kit and was able to make temporary repairs. He had some high-pressure hose repair tape which he used to patch the hole in the radiator hose and he was able to use an extension cord to patch the rig's on-board battery charger into the Onan generator. This replaced the loss of electric power from the non-working alternator. But, it became obvious, at that late hour, that they were just going to have to live with the loss of power steering.
With Don following along, John nursed the rig back to the station and the rig was put to bed, out of service, for the night. In the morning, Don visited the local Ford dealer where he purchased new belts and a radiator hose. Within a few hours, he had the unit back in service.
What would we do without Don and his resourcefulness?
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, September 6, 2013

San Jose Pallet Fire Goes To A 4th Alarm and FASCV Responds for Rehab Support


Photo By John Whitaker
At approximately 11:00 P.M. on Friday, September 6, the San Jose Fire Department received reports of a warehouse fire in the vicinity of N King Rd. and Mabury Rd. Arriving units discovered a well-involved industrial warehouse complex at 690 N. King Rd., with fire threatening exposures. A 2nd alarm was quickly struck.
The area between two different warehouses was filled with thousands of empty shipping pallets. Once these pallets ignited, the fire quickly spread to the adjacent warehouse. Incident Commanders went into defensive mode and soon called for a third and then a fourth alarm to battle the raging blaze. This escalation also triggered a Fire Associates call out, and members Bruce Dembecki and Don Gilbert responded to the dispatch to collect Fire Support Unit 2 from San Jose Fire Station 6. FSU-2 was staffed at Station 6 within 35 minutes of the original dispatch, and on scene in less than an hour.

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Fire Support Unit 2 was met on scene by FASCV member John Whitaker and later joined by Dan Wong. Rehab was made more challenging by the size of the two warehouses, the field of pallets burning and the very large fire ground. A Rehab station was established near the Command Post out on N. King Road, and refreshment stations were set up down Dobbins Rd. at Division Bravo, and behind the complex at Division Charlie.
Firefighters took quick care of the warehouse buildings, but the pallet fire burning between the buildings caused some considerable effort to control. Pallets, of course, are a perfect combination of flammable materials and space for air. They burn very well and fire spreads in stacks of pallets extremely quickly. To get at the fire, the thousands of pallets were pulled out and those that were burnt needed be extinguished. This was a hard, physical job involving lots of manpower. A fork lift and a skip loader were used to some extent, but it was mostly manual work pulling apart the piles.
Photo By John Whitaker

Eventually, the fire was put out and hot and tired fire crews were rehydrated and refreshed in Rehab. FSU-2 was released and back at Station 6 at by 4:00 A.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fire Associates Responds to Stubborn 7-Eleven Fire In Santa Clara

Date and Time: Thurs., Sept. 05, 2013, 0745 hours
Agency: Santa Clara City Fire
Incident Address: 706 Benton St., Santa Clara (cross of Benton and The Alameda)
Type: Third alarm
Details: Stubborn fire in roof space of a 7-11 store only a few hundred feet from Fire Station 1. Store was open at the time. Alarm was reported directly at the station. Quickly progressed to a third alarm. Free-standing building, no external or internal exposures. Chief, who was in the station at the time, said there was a large amount of smoke when he looked down the street. Final extinguishment required a lot of time because the fire was deeply buried in the roofing material.
Agency Responders:
SNC: E-1, 3, 4, 5, 7; T-2, 8; R-2; HM-9, Batt. 1
SJS: E-7, 10; T-14 for station coverage
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 0820, released: 1145 hours.
FASCV Responders: Bruce Dembecki, Ron Green and Jerry Haag (driver). Ron's last run with FASCV.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunnyvale Refuse Fire Brings Multi-Alarm Response

Date and Time:  08-18-2013, 0400 hours
Agency:  Sunnyvale
Incident Address:  301 Carl Road, Sunnyvale
Type:  Second alarm
Details:  Fire in a large refuse consolidation facility (Sunnyvale SMART Station).
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 4, 40, 5, 6, 60; R-2; Batt. 1 (Rushmeyer - IC)
FASCV Responding Units:  FSU-1. Arrived: 0435, released: 0630 hours.
FASCV Responders:  Ron Green, Jerry Haag, Len Williams (driver) and Dan Wong.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

National Night Out - “America’s Night Out Against Crime!”

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Tuesday, August 6th, was National Night Out - “America’s Night Out Against Crime”! To highlight the event, the San Jose Fire Department held a special Open House at Fire Station 6 in Willow Glen. The Open House offered members of the public a chance to meet their firefighters and get an up-close look at the fire engines. The BBQ was running overtime as hundreds of residents were fed by San Jose's firefighters. Meanwhile, fire station and fire engine tours were popular.
In addition to the station's "local" regulars, Engine 6 and Fire Support Unit 2, other fire units on display included Med 30, Truck 30 and one of the San Jose Squads. Also joining in the evening's get-together were several representatives from the San Jose Police Dept. In addition to this wide range of equipment for residents to learn about, the event was well attended by San Jose Fire Department's firefighters and administrative ranks. Fire Chief Willie McDonald was on hand - during his last week as San Jose's Fire Chief. Also attending were an Assistant Chief, some Deputy Chiefs ,and a whole squad of Battalion Chiefs (or is a group of Battalion Chiefs called a "gaggle"? ...maybe a "Battalion"?).


Photo By BC Steve Alvarado
The public enjoyed their visit to the fire station and the entertainment put on by SJFD and SJPD. To go with the hot dogs and baked beans (flying off the BBQ) and the equipment tours, guests were spotted swinging away at a Pinata, watching a rather fine video presentation, and talking with Fire Associates' volunteer Bruce Dembecki about our group. Later in the evening Truck 30 came by and showed off San Jose's newest piece of fire apparatus - the new Pierce aerial tiller. The Pierce "stick" was put up into the night sky and the lights on the tip made the whole area seem like daylight.
Several hundred people came through the doors of Fire Station 6 on a fine Tuesday evening, and Fire Associates was happy to have been able to participate.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

SJFD Firefighters Tackle Challenging Storage Unit Blaze

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose

Tuesday morning, Aug. 6 at 06:26 A.M., San Jose Fire started receiving reports of a structure fire in the area of Interstate 280 and Hwy. 101. Additional callers placed the fire at the Public Storage facility at 925 Felipe Ave., while another caller gave yet another address behind Felipe Ave. on Olinder Ct.
Full first responses were dispatched to both the Public Storage location and the possible 912 Olinder Ct. address. Fire units arriving at Public Storage immediately requested a second alarm to deal with flames shooting out of two stories of the building. Olinder Ct. units went to work protecting the exposures on their side of the Public Storage building.
Ultimately, the Olinder Ct. units were added to the Public Storage incident, putting more than 3 alarms of equipment and manpower at the disposal of the Felipe IC.

Photo Provided By SJFD Deputy Chief Juan Diaz
As is often the case with Storage building fires, heavy fuel loads and the varied nature of the things being stored in different units, present fire crews with many challenges. One of those added challenges was dealing with the extremely tight access space in the driveways between rows of units. Storage units suffered extensive damage on both floors of the Public Storage facility.
At approximately 7:10 A.M., Fire Associates was requested and Bruce Dembecki responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 2. After arriving a little before 7:30 A.M., Bruce was joined on scene by FASCV member Dan Wong.
FSU-2 set up Rehab operations offering cold drinks, coffee and Cliff bars to crews dealing with their early morning start, while Med 30 and Rural Metro EMS crews went through the formal rehab process for fire crews.
By 10:00 A.M., many crews had been released and those remaining had their fresh A-shift crews in place, having replaced their B-shift counterparts on scene. Fire Associates was released from the scene and Support Unit 2 headed back home to SJFD Fire Station 6.
The best news being that the fire was under control and there were no injuries.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Friday, August 2, 2013

FASCV Responds to Multiple-Alarm Refuse Transfer Station Fire In Morgan Hill

Photo from Morgan Hill Chief Jamie Norton

Photo Provided By San Jose Deputy Chief, Juan Diaz
On August 2, at 7:12 P.M., Morgan Hill Cal Fire dispatched equipment to a blaze at 10470 Llagas Avenue, with a cross street of East Middle Avenue. The site was a large refuse transfer station and the contents were blazing! Fire Associates received a page at 8:13 P.M. for rehab support and John Whiteside responded to San Jose Station 35 to drive Fire Support Unit 3 to the fire, about 25 miles away.
Located south of, and just outside, the Morgan Hill city limits, this site is in the response area of the South Santa Clara County Fire District, staffed by Cal Fire. First-arriving units laid a large-diameter supply line almost 1,000 feet to reach the fire. This was later supplemented with 4 water tenders shuttling water from several miles away. Lots of foam was expended to penetrate the piles of refuse, which had been moved outside by tractors.
FSU-3 arrived on scene at 9:09 P.M. and began to set up Rehab. Later, FASCV member Dan Wong arrived from Mountain View to assist. Firefighters enjoyed our portable benches, lemonade, coffee, water, Gatorade, blueberry and CLIF bars, and area lighting.
South County equipment was aided by fire units from Gilroy, San Jose, Cal Fire and Morgan Hill. Based on the amount of equipment (10 engines, 4 water tenders, 1 ladder truck and many chief officers and support personnel), it was deemed to be equal to a 3rd-alarm response. San Jose Fire also provided station coverage with additional units. Fire units remained on scene most of the night.
John was released at 12:59 A.M. (August 3) and arrived back at Station 35 at 1:25 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside