Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2-Alarm San Jose House Fire Requires Extensive Overhaul

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 30, the San Jose Fire Department received reports of a house on fire at 5963 Garces Ave. Arriving units reported heavy smoke coming from the eaves of the building and discovered an exterior trash fire on the "Bravo" side that had spread to the building's interior and attic. The house was under renovation and, other than a single worker who tried to extinguish the blaze, it was unoccupied.
Crews went to work on the attic fire but firefighting efforts were hampered by a metal clad roof covering an old shake roof. The flames were eating away on the wooden shake roof while the metal clad covering made access very difficult. With an extended overhaul operation apparent, the IC requested Fire Associates assistance at approximately 5:40 P.M. Shortly after that, a request was made for a second alarm. It became apparent that extra manpower would be needed for the overhaul.
Fire Associates member Don Gilbert brought Fire Support Unit 2 to the scene where he was met by FASCV members Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker and John Whiteside. Cold drinks and snacks were provided, while Bruce and John Whitaker assisted Med 30 with the Rehab Sector to enable Med 30 to focus on his PIO functions.
FSU 2 was released from the scene at 8:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mountain View Firefighters Respond to 2-Alarm Hotel Blaze


Photo Courtesy of Mt. View Fire Dept.
Date and Time: 04-28-2013, 1854 hours
Agency:  Mountain View  Fire
Incident Address: 1720 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View
Type: Second alarm
Details: Large, two-story motel, vacant and awaiting demolition. Fire on "A" side of first floor, spread vertically to second floor and roof. With lots of fire and no life hazard, it was a great training opportunity.
Agency Responders:
MTV: E-1, 2, 3, 4, 5; T-1; R-1; IC- Batt. 18  (Act. B/C Custodio)
PAF: Engine-5 (coverage), R-2; BS-2; and Batt. 6
CNT: E-15 (coverage), T-14

FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Arrived: 1910, released: 2130 hours. FSU-1. Arrived 1930.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver, FSU-4), Ron Green, Bob Gundrum, Jerry Haag, Wagner (driver, FSU-1), Len Williams and Dan Wong.
  • A press release from MVFD can be read at:  2-Alarm Fire
  • An on-line news story from Mountain View Voice can be read at:  Tropicana Hotel

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Historic Bike Shop Burns in San Jose

Photo By John Whitaker
One of San Jose's oldest buildings burned in a 3-alarm fire on April 25th. Built in 1885, the wooden, Victorian structure suffered severe fire damage and may be lost to preservationists. Firefighters found the entire second floor of the structure ablaze when the arrived at 702 S. First Street. When a third alarm was called at 9:52 P.M., a Fire Associates response was requested for Rehab.
This structure should be familiar to many San Jose residents as it has served as a saloon, blacksmith shop and bike shop for approximately 128 years. For the past several decades, the building has been leaning at what appeared to be a severe angle while still being occupied. As drivers entered the Southbound Interstate 280 freeway onramp located directly across the street, it was hard to miss this landmark.
Because of the building's stability issues, the firefight operated primarily in a defensive mode. At one point, live wires came down forcing fire crews to temporarily abandon several of their rigs in response to a "life Safety" alert. Firefighters did an amazing job keeping the damage basically confined to the second floor of the entirely wood building.
Bruce Dembecki and Don Gilbert arrived at the fire in Fire Support Unit 2 and a rehab area was quickly established on a sidewalk near the command center. Hot coffee, cold drinks and Clif Bars were provided as the usual fare. Rehab was in operation until fire crews were released shortly after midnight.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Milpitas Fire Responds to Mid-day Apartment Blaze

Photo By John Whitaker
Date and Time: 04-23-2013, 1122 hours
Agency: Milpitas Fire
Incident Address:
428 Dempsey Rd., Milpitas
Type: Second alarm
Details: Two-story, garden apartment building. Fire on the second floor was well developed before arrival of first unit. Fire damage largely confined to unit of origin with minimal spread to adjacent apartment.
Agency Responders:
MLP: E-101, 201, 3; T-1, 4; USAR-1; XSC Medic-33; IC- Batt. 19 (Mihovich)
Fremont: Engine, Truck and B/C (released before /FASCV arrival)
SJS: Station coverage
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 1215, released: 1300 hours.
FASCV Responders: Ron Green (driver), Jerry Haag, John Whitaker, Dan Wong and Walter Huber (guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Debris Fire Escalates to 3-Alarm Structure Blaze in East San Jose

Photo By John Whitaker
It's not often that a debris pile fire escalates into a 3-alarm house fire, but that's exactly what happened on April 17 in East San Jose. With a steady, warm wind blowing, sparks or flames from a backyard pile of vegetation climbed up the exterior wall of the 2-story home and into the attic space. Neighbors spotted smoke from the fire and called the San Jose Fire Department to the home located at 2169 Ruby Ave.
The first-arriving fire units immediately went into attack mode while later-arriving firefighters protected the homes to the south of the blaze. The first BC on scene reported that he found the flames "blowing horizontally out of the upper-floor windows like a blowtorch." The house nextdoor to the involved structure had a metal roof and there was serious concern that burning embers could be blown underneath the roof and ignite the wood rafters. The involved homes' lone occupant was asleep at the time the fire started and was awakened by neighbors pounding on the door. He was able to escape the building with no apparent injury.
Photo By John Whitaker
When a third alarm was called for the blaze, Fire Associates was paged and John Whiteside arrived in Fire Support Unit 3. He was met on scene by FASCV members John Whitaker, Dan Wong, George Hoyt and Walter Huber (guest). A formal rehab area was set up in an adjoining driveway and firefighters cooled down with lots of ice cold water, Gatorade and Lemonade.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Monday, April 15, 2013

3-Alarm Sunnyvale Fire Results In Third Call of the Day for FASCV

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date and  Time: 04-15-2013, 2239 hours
Agency: Sunnyvale Fire
Incident Address: 732 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
Type: Third alarm

Details: Multiple occupancy strip mall. One unit charged with smoke down to the floor upon arrival of first unit. Brief interior attack before safety concerns forced shift to defensive. Fire spread to two adjoining occupancies but was prevented from spreading to attached buildings on both sides by application of strong hose streams, two of which were elevated (SNY T-1, SNC T-8), to protect existing fire walls. Three tenancies severely damaged, little damage to exposures. Final extinguishment was made more difficult by multiple layered roof surface.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 3, 4, 30, 40, 60; T-1, 2, 2; R-2; XSC Medic-42; IC- Batt. 1 (Rushmeyer)
SNC: E-10; T-8
CNT: E-1
PAF: R-2; BS-2
MTV: station coverage
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 2300, released: 0300 hours, April 16.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr, Bruce Dembecki, Jerry Haag (driver), Len Williams, Dan Wong. and Walter Huber (guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

3-Alarm San Jose House Fire Results in 2 Fatalities

Photo By John Whitaker
Just before 9:00 P.M., on April 15, Fire Associates was called to a house fire in San Jose. Located at 949 S. Daniel Way, neighbors first reported the fire to the San Jose Fire Department shortly before 8:30 P.M. The first engine on scene reported flames showing from the "Charlie" side on the structure and additional flames rolling out the "Alpha" side door. Additionally, neighbors reported that the home was occupied by an elderly woman and her adult son -- and they were not present outside the structure.
As firefighters quickly attacked the blaze with multiple hose lines, truck companies were assigned to do a primary search. It was not long before the 95-year-old woman was found in a rear bedroom. Firefighters brought her out through a window and CPR was immediately started. Unfortunately, she could not be revived and was pronounced deceased on scene. The body of her son was found later in the night, still in the building. The double fatalities had a profound effect on all the emergency personnel on scene.
Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
Meanwhile, high winds threatened to spread the fire and a third alarm was called. Fire Associates was paged as part of the multi-alarm dispatch and John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by Jerry Haag, John Whitaker, Dan Wong, George Hoyt and Walter Huber (guest). A rehab area was quickly established and firefighters were provided with lots of hot coffee and nutrition bars on an unusually cold and windy April evening.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Santa Clara County Fire Calls for FASCV Assistance

Just after 6:00 A.M. on Monday, April 15, Santa Clara County Fire received reports of smoke in the area of 1600 Dell Ave. in Campbell. Arriving units discovered a trash fire on the side of an automotive parts warehouse. The fire was escalated to a full first response, and then around 6:45 A.M. a second alarm was called. Fire Associates was paged out as part of the second alarm assignment.
Fire Associates member Don Gilbert responded to San Jose Fire Station 6 to bring Fire Support Unit 2 to the scene, while FASCV members Dan Wong, Bruce Dembecki and John Whitaker responded directly to the scene. By the time FSU 2 arrived on scene, the fire was extinguished and units were being released, and Fire Associates members were released upon arrival. Don had picked up 2 dozen fresh donuts which were left with the appreciative fire crews, and FSU 2 was back in quarters at San Jose by 8:00 A.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wind-Whipped Fire Spreads in Sunnyvale

Date and Time: 04-08-2013, 0345 hours
Agency: Sunnyvale Fire
Incident Address: 340 Angel Ave., Sunnyvale
Type: Second alarm
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1 (first in), 2, 3, 5, 60; T-1, 2; R-21; XSC Medic-26; IC- Batt. 2 (Hunter)
MTV for station coverage
Details: Two, single-story duplexes, fire in garage between them. Minor fire spread to both of the exposures. Several families displaced.
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 0430, released: 0800 hours.
FASCV Responders: Haag (driver), Wong, Williams.

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Friday, April 5, 2013

Saratoga House Fire Brings Fire Associates Response

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
At approximately 7:45 P.M. on Friday, April 5, County Fire received reports of a house ablaze at 18565 Aspesi Drive in Saratoga. Arriving units found parts of the building well involved with power wires down around the building and concerns with threats to exposures on two sides of the building. With the multiple issues, and the well-involved nature of the fire, it was quickly determined to handle this incident in a defensive mode and the firefight was made from outside the building.
While it appeared there was a knock down, when crews entered the building later there were pockets of active fire which quickly grew, forcing a withdrawal from the building and another switch into defensive mode. The building was well-involved in several sections including the garage (including a parked car), and the rear bedroom. With a switch to defensive mode, the incident was held at a full first alarm.
With units on scene for nearly 90 minutes already, and an active firefight underway again, Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki called County Communications to see if a Fire Support Unit could be useful on scene. The IC quickly responded with a very firm "Yes Please!", and Fire Support Unit 2 was dispatched to the incident.
Bruce arrived with FSU 2 around 9:40 P.M., almost 2 hours after the first reports of fire came in, and was met by FASCV members Jerry Haag and Dan Wong. Hazmat 2 had formal rehab set up on the West side of the fire and FSU 2 quickly joined them and provided cold drinks and Clif Bars to weary firefighters.
The fire was under control around 10:30 P.M. and units were starting to be released. Support Unit 2 remained on scene providing cold drinks and snacks to firefighters until being released with all but one engine around 11:15 P.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, April 1, 2013

Two-alarm Apartment Fire In Sunnyvale

Date and Time: 04-01-2013, 2228 hours
Agency: Sunnyvale Fire
Incident Address:
235 Arriba Dr., Sunnyvale
Type: Second alarm

Details: Two-story apartment building with fire on the second floor and threatening spread to the attic space. Many occupants displaced, one transported.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 3 (first in), 30, 40; T-1, 2; R-2; XSC Medic-14; IC- Batt. 3 (Moretto)
MTV for station coverage

FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 2300, released: 0100 hours on 2 April.
FASCV Responders: Jerry Haag (driver) and Dan Wong.

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag