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