Monday, July 29, 2013

Apartment Units Hit by 2-Alarm Fire In Palo Alto

Photo By Sue Dremann Published at Palo Alto Online
Date and Time: 07-29-2013, 1013 hours
Agency:  Palo Alto Fire
Incident Address: 420 James Road, Palo Alto
Type: Second alarm. Quickly reduced
Agency Responders:
PAF: E-2, 4, 5, 6; T-6; R-2; Medic-2; Batt-6 (Woodard-IC)
MTV: Batt-18.
Details: Building was a two-story, multi-family unit over a garage. Fire was in a first-floor apartment and was blowing out a window and auto-exposing a second-floor window and eaves above upon arrival of first unit. Very quick fire attack limited significant fire damage to the unit of origin.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-4. Arrived: 1040, released: 1150 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Bob Gundrum, Jerry Haag and Dan Wong
  • A news story from Palo Alto Online can be read at:  Apartment Fire
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Saturday, July 20, 2013

FASCV Summoned to 2-Alarm Fire at Sunnyvale Liquor Store

Photo By David Thompson, SNY Fire
Date and Time:  07-20-2013, 1457 hours
Agency:  Sunnyvale
Incident Address: 
490 N. Mathilda Ave., Sunnyvale
Type:  Second alarm

Details:  Prestige Wines and Liquors store in Sunnyvale Square Shopping Center under exterior remodel. Business was open during construction. Fire apparently started in wall between Fish and Chips restaurant and liquor store, spreading quickly into the ceiling void.  Lucky Grocery store (adjacent to liquor store) was evacuated, and allowed to reopen after several hours.
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 60; T-1, 2; R-21; XSC Medic 23; Batt. 3 (Moretto - IC)
SNC: Station coverage
MTV: Station coverage 
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 1515, released: 1800 hours.
FASCV Responders:  Ron Green, Bob Gundrum (driver), Jerry Haag, Paula Holcomb, Len Williams, Dan Wong and Mike Garcia (guest)
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag and Bob Gundrum

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two Homes Burn In 3-Alarm Fire on San Jose's East Side

Photo Provided By Neighbor to Juan Diaz
At approximately 1900 hours on Friday evening, July 19, the San Jose Fire Department dispatched a 3-alarm structure assignment to the 3100 block of Linkshead Court, off of Stevens Lane, in east San Jose. A house fire that apparently began outside the garage of one house, had quickly spread to an adjacent home. Fueled by a natural gas meter problem, the blaze spread to a wood fence and then ignited the adjacent house -- both single-story structures. It was not long before the fire then spread into the attics of both buildings.
When SJFD paged Fire Associates, Don Gilbert and John Whiteside, with a slight delay as they were finishing dinner, met at Station 6 and responded in Fire Support Unit 2. They were joined on scene by FASCV members George Hoyt, Jerry Haag and Dan Wong. Cool drinks, CLIF bars and Blueberry bars were provided and later coffee was brewed at the request of several firefighters. During the dinner-time fire, Dan and George were tasked to pick up 22 burritos for fire personnel.

Just before breaking down the rehab setup, former FASCV president John Whitaker, and his wife Liz, arrived and assisted in loading up equipment back on FSU-2. They had been out of the area for the evening and stopped by the location on their return home. FSU-2 was back in quarters by 2230 hours.
  • A San Jose Mercury News story can be viewed at:  Two Homes Burn
  • Photos posted by SJFD Deputy Chief Juan Diaz can be viewed at:  Linkshead Fire
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Sunday, July 14, 2013

FASCV Responds To Third Call for Service in 36 Hours

Photo By John Whitaker
As Sunday morning became Sunday afternoon, Fire Associates' volunteer efforts moved from the rural site of the Casa Loma Road fire, to a new brush fire on the hills above Almaden Lake. This fire had much more potential to damage adjacent condo and apartment complexes!
FASCV member John Whitaker had just finished restocking ice and drinks for Fire Support Units 2 and 3 when the emergency radios crackled with the news of this new fire. He was already at SJFD Station 35, so he decided to wait around just in case there was a call for rehab assistance.
Shortly before 4:30 P.M. the fire escalated to a Tier 2 effort, and John proactively decided to contact Dispatch to see if FASCV could be of help. The reply was "Yes", and John quickly responded in an already-stocked FSU-3. On the way to the scene, he stopped to pick up John Whiteside at his home and proceeded to the end of Miracle Mountain Drive, where the majority of the firefighting effort was concentrated. Once on scene, they were met by FASCV members Randy Whiteside (who lives less than a block away from the fire), George Hoyt and Dan Wong.
As is often the case in vegetation fires, although the equipment was located at the Command Center, the fire crews were a long distance away and up a steep hillside. In other words, there wasn't much FASCV could do but provide drinks that were then transported up to the firefighters by SJFD personnel. However, because of the glut of fire equipment along the narrow street, FASCV members were able to lend assistance to the movement of equipment and, in one case, helping one firefighter refill Water Tender 13 at a nearby hydrant.
Fortunately, the fire reached a natural firebreak at the top and bottom of the hillside, and with the help of a copter and engine crews from Cal Fire, the blaze was stopped without spreading too far. As some fire crews were being released at approximately 6:30 P.M., FASCV was also released from the scene -- ending a long two days.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

FASCV Members Support Day Two of the Casa Loma Fire Overhaul Effort

Photo By John Whitaker
For Fire Associates members, Sunday, July 14, began a lot like the previous day. The San Jose Fire Department again requested our services at the Casa Loma fire scene. The overhaul effort was extending into its second day, and John Whiteside and Randy Whiteside responded to the 9:07 A.M. call in Fire Support Unit 3.
FASCV member John Whitaker offered to meet them at SJFD Station 35 and lead the way in to the remote fire scene in his personal vehicle. It had been advantageous the day before to have an extra vehicle at the site in order to make any necessary meal runs.
After arriving shortly after 10:30 A.M., rehab was again set up in a shady location and preparations were made to serve firefighters as they came down off the hill after a morning of hard work. A meal run was made at 11:30 A.M. for 35 sandwiches and chips.
Good progress was made by the morning rotation crews and it was determined that no other effort would be required in the afternoon. Firefighters were returned to service at approximately 1:30 P.M. and Fire Associates was released shortly thereafter.
It should be noted that, over the two days, Fire Associates provided over 55 man-hours of support, delivered and served 135 meals and went through approximately 18 cases of water and Gatorade. In addition, 160 lbs. of ice was used to cool all the drinks. In the end, this was one of the longest FASCV support operations in recent memory.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Saturday, July 13, 2013

San Jose Fire Crews Tackle Major Overhaul Effort

Photo By John Whitaker
At 7:35 A.M. on Saturday, July 13, most people were probably anticipating the start of a relaxing weekend. Not the Fire Associates. It was at that early hour when the San Jose Fire Department requested our support at a fire that had burned on the previous day.
On Friday, July 12, just past 1300 hours, the Morgan Hill Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit Emergency Command Center (ECC) received calls of a brush fire on Casa Loma Road, west of Uvas/McKean Road. This area is west of Morgan Hill and southwest of San Jose, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
A wildland dispatch was initiated resulting in 1 air attack, 4 air tankers, 2 copters, 2 dozers, several hand crews, and eventually more than 20 engines and water tenders -- some from San Jose and local volunteer departments. First units on scene, over 2 miles in on Casa Loma Rd., reported several acres were burning, going up a steep hill, with a potential of 500 acres and some structures threatened. Quick work by the aerial units stopped the head of the fire which was later mapped at 30 acres (downgraded from the originally estimated 55 acres).
Volunteer in Fire Prevention (VIP) member John Whiteside, also a Fire Associates member/responder, was on duty in the ECC. Hours later he was assigned to arrange for 275 meals to be obtained and delivered to the fire scene. John ordered the food, then contacted three VIPs to respond, pick up and deliver the food before sundown, using two Cal Fire pickups. Many of the ground units were released later that night.
As the firefighting efforts continued, it was determined to be entirely within San Jose city limits. Although located considerably south of the Almaden Valley, the fire had actually burned an area of the Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve that was within the city limits. That made the fire the responsibility of the San Jose Fire Department and required the efforts of firefighters who were more used to structure fires than hiking up steep slopes covered with grass, oak trees and poison oak.
When day two of the effort dawned, it was determined that the fire would require a considerable amount of overhaul on a very hot, summer day. So, SJFD requested the assistance of Fire Associates. Don Gilbert and John Whitaker responded to the call in Fire Support Unit 2. They were joined on scene by FASCV members George Hoyt and Dan Wong.
The initial firefighting was accomplished by a ground and air assault from Cal Fire crews. But, once the actual responsibility was discovered, the operation was turned over to the SJFD command staff. However, for this overhaul effort, Cal Fire did provide two inmate hand crews from the Ben Lomond Conservation Camp and some of the overhead support.
Photo By John Whitaker
On this Saturday morning, crews from 5 SJFD engine companies and a water tender were tasked to climb the hills and extinguish any smoldering trees or stumps. The concern was that winds later in the day may stir up embers and the fire could escape the containment lines. As the day progressed, and temperatures reached near 90 degrees, crews were rotated out and replaced by fresh firefighters at approximately 5-hour intervals.
Fire Associates' responsibility was to staff the rehab area and provide ice cold water, Gatorade and high-nutrition bars. A shady area was found in which to set up tables, benches and camp chairs. FASCV responsibilities also included picking up and serving approximately 70 sandwiches and chips for lunch and another pick-up run of 30 sandwiches and chips for the dinner hour.
After the evening rotation of crews arrived and were fed, Fire Associates was released at 7:50 P.M. It was a long 12 hours of service, but one that was greatly appreciated by some very weary fire crews.
-- John Whiteside and John Whitaker contributed to this report

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FASCV Responds to Large House Fire In Los Gatos

Photo from "Friends of San Jose Firefighters" Facebook Page
Wednesday, July 10, was a hot and muggy day. At 1:10 P.M., FASCV member John Whiteside was arriving at a restaurant, to have lunch, when County Fire dispatched a full-first alarm assignment to a house fire in Los Gatos. The large, single-story residence was located at 16431 Lavender Lane, near Orange Blossom Lane.
John decided to wait and see what developed, since he knew that the Fire Associates' south county area was short of Fire Support Unit drivers. Based on the emergency radio traffic, John could sense the urgency and it wasn't long before a second alarm was dispatched. He called Sonitrol, our answering service, to let them know he was en route to drive FSU-3. He recommended to Sonitrol that they page out the details once County Fire called in with the request for service and the exact location.
John departed San Jose Station 35 with FSU-3 at 1:50 P.M. and arrived at Lavender Staging just after 2:00 P.M. He set up Rehab with the assistance of FASCV members Jerry Haag and Dan Wong. Bruce Dembecki was out of the county, but joined Rehab later in the afternoon.
As the firefight progressed, a large group of firefighters were in Rehab, with their drink supply running low. Immediately, iced drinks were provided, along with benches, another misting fan added to the two already in use, CLIF bars and Fire Associates popular lemonade. The 50 pounds of ice on the FSU were quickly depleted and Jerry left to obtain another 50 pounds. The fire eventually escalated to a third alarm with San Jose filling out that response.
John was released at approximately 6:30 P.M., and, after buying $120-worth of drinks (ten cases of water and Gatorade) to restock the almost empty FSU, arrived back at Station 35 at 7:40 P.M., ending a longer-than-normal rehab response.
  • Photos by Craig Allyn Rose can be viewed at:  Los Gatos House Fire
  • A video of Santa Clara County Deputy Fire Chief Steve Prziborowski can be viewed at:  News Interview
  • A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at:  Homeowner Escapes Fire
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4 Vegetation Fire Had Milpitas Fire Crews Busy

One of many fire responses on July 4th occurred late in the evening when a small vegetation fire sparked in the hills above Milpitas.
Crews had a difficult time making access to the terrain because of both the terrain and the congested roads, with many 4th of July fireworks viewers up on the hills to see the various displays around the South Bay. The location of the fire was actually in a SRA, so CalFire was also called to the fire, along with Spring Valley units, including their Water Tender.
Fire Associates was added to the dispatch for the event around 10:20pm, and member Bruce Dembecki set off to get Fire Support Unit 2 on the road heading towards Milpitas.
Once crews gained access to the fire it was quickly contained at under an acre. Milpitas units and Fire Associates were soon cancelled, and mop up was left to CalFire units supported by Spring Valley.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Multiple-Structure Fire In San Jose Results in 3-Alarm Response

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
Date: July 4, 1900 hrs
Agency:  San Jose - 3rd Alarm
Address:  3576 Sydney - near Piedmont
IC:  BC Mary GutiĆ©rrez
Details:  A whole bunch of fire apparatus on scene. 1 residence complete loss + 1 with severe damage (pulled ceilings due to fire into attic). FSU-1 provided hydration after departure of Med-30 as well as delivering meals. Released ~2145 hrs.
FASCV Memebers: Bob Gundrum (driver), George Hoyt, and Don Gilbert.
  • Photos by Craig Allyn Rose can be viewed at:  Sidney Fire
-- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FASCV Responds to Fire at House Under Construction in Sunnyvale

Photo By David Thompson from Sunnyvale Public Safety Dept.
Date and Time: 07-02-2013, 0228 hours
Agency:  Sunnyvale
Incident Address: 777 Duncardine Way, Sunnyvale
Type: Second alarm
Agency Responders:
SNY: E-1, 2, 3, 4, 40, 5, 6; T-1, 2; R-2; XSC Medic 42; Batt. 2 (Hunter - IC)
SNC: R-2
MTV: Station coverage.
Details: Small, single-family dwelling under rebuild following a previous fire (February 23, 2012). Only the framing was up. Unoccupied. Exposures on B, C, and D sides slightly damaged. Three persons displaced. Two ladder pipes in operation.
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Arrived: 0315, released: 0515 hours.
FASCV Responders: Ron Green, Jerry Haag, Len Williams (driver), and Mike Garcia (guest)
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag