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