Photo By John Whitaker
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.
- John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at: Almaden Lake Hillside