Monday, November 25, 2013

FASCV Responds to Second Fire of the Day

Date and Time: 11-25-2013, 1713 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire Dept.
Incident Address: 52 Almond Ave., Los Altos
Type: Second Alarm

Details: Fire in a small, single-story, single-family dwelling.

The fire was in a nice little cottage that was probably built in the '20s. Peak roof with usable attic space. The incident started with a report of an electrical fault on the cul-de-sac behind the house. Shortly after arrival of Engine 15 (fire station is right next door) and discovery of live wires on the ground the occupant reported that they smelled smoke in the house. Upon further investigation it was determined that there was fire in the basement with smoke and heat building up. Horizontal ventilation was initiated by removing basement windows and the IC requested a second alarm because of potential fire spread to upper floors. Jerry Haag had been monitoring the radio traffic and immediately called Larry Carr for a response in anticipation of the normal notification from Sonitrol. Larry was on-scene with Fire Support Unit 4 within about 20 minutes and provided rehab for about 2 hours before release. We enjoyed a Togo's sandwich compliments of County Fire.

Agency Responders:
CNT: E-1, 2, 7, 9, 15 (three hand lines), 16; T-1; R-14, 17; BS-2; HM-2; Batt. 3, 14 (IC-Pearson)

FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Released: 1945 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong.

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Santa Clara County Firefighters Respond To A 2-Alarm House Fire In Campbell

Photo By John Whitaker
On Monday, Nov. 25, the peace and quiet of a beautiful Fall morning was broken at 8:37 A.M. when Fire Associates' pagers sounded alerting them to a house fire in Campbell.  Located at 424 Carlyn Ave., a second alarm was called as a fire was burning in the rear of a single-family home. With fire moving into the attic space, Santa Clara County fire crews were challenged by the quickly spreading blaze.

John Whiteside and John Whitaker were both listening to their scanners and heard the IC call for a second alarm. Knowing that alarm level would bring a request for FASCV support, both John's called Don Gilbert to see if he was able to respond. Don lives on the west side of the Valley and would be able to respond much quicker -- if available. Don agreed to go get FSU-2 while John Whitaker went to the scene. They were joined by FASCV members, Jerry Haag, Cliff Smith and Bruce Dembecki.
The usual -- coffee, donuts, Clif Bars, Gatorade and water -- were supplied to the busy firefighters. As the overhaul of the structure wound down, and most of the fire crews were released to return to quarters, FASCV members were also released shortly before noon.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, November 22, 2013

Morgan Hill House Fire Results in a Multi-Agency Response

Photo By John Whitaker
Travel To Incident Proved To Be Eventful

While most people were in bed at 1:15 A.M. on Friday, Nov. 22,. FASCV members were responding to a house fire south of Morgan Hill. Located at 11205 Monterey Highway, the fire was primarily burning in the attic space of a 1-story structure.  John Whitaker responded to the early morning call for assistance in Fire Support Unit 3, with John Whiteside along as passenger.
While the fire was the primary newsworthy event of this response, the trip down to the South Valley proved to have it's own excitement. As FSU-3 drove along southbound U.S. 101, emergency radio traffic reported a vehicle accident southbound, north of Coyote Hills Drive. That location was approximately 2 miles ahead of the FSU!
As the FSU approached, with yellow lights flashing for safety, it was obvious that there was a vehicle facing the wrong direction, up an embankment, in the median of the freeway. In addition, several other vehicles were stopped on the right-hand shoulder. The FSU was the first emergency unit on scene!
John Whiteside exited the FSU and checked on the status of the occupants in all vehicles. Two vehicles had been involved while the other cars had stopped for help. John statused the incident, and reported back to Dispatch via his hand-held radio that all occupants were out of the vehicles and there were no apparent injuries. By that time, a Rural Metro EMS rig arrived followed shortly by a CHP cruiser. With this incident taken over by other "responsibles", the FSU continued on to the original Morgan Hill blaze.
Photo By John Whitaker
The fire began shortly after midnight in a home that was located not far back from the shoulder of Monterey Highway. Fire crews from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill Fire, Cal Fire, Gilroy Fire, and San Jose Fire were all in attendance -- resulting in a 2-alarm "plus" response level. The extra equipment was made necessary because there was no water supply in the area. A water tender from SSCC Fire and two tenders from San Jose were all put into use shuttling water into a portable tank. Needless to say, Monterey Highway was shutdown southbound as the roadway was full of fire rigs!
All occupants of the home were lucky to escape the nighttime blaze as the fire ran the entire length of the attic space. Once knocked down, firefighters went to work emptying the structure of salvageable clothing and household goods -- which were stacked along the shoulder of the highway. The fire proved to be stubborn as it kept smoldering to life well into the wee hours of the morning.
Rehab was established in the median of Monterey Highway directly in front of the structure. Several dozen donuts, coffee, hot chocolate and some water and Gatorade were provided to fire crews and some victims of the fire. It was a cold night, by California standards, and both FASCV members were glad to have put on their long-johns before leaving home. Hot beverages were greatly appreciated by all in attendance. As sunrise approached, FSU-3 was released from duty and put back into service at approximately 5:30 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

San Jose Firefighters Battle Blaze and the Elements

Photo By John Whitaker
It doesn't have to be sunny and hot to have a fire.

That fact was proven on Wednesday, Nov. 20, as Fire Associates was paged to a 2-alarm house fire in South San Jose. Just before the first heavy rainstorm of the season struck the area, the residents of a 2-story house at 109 Rosewell Way came outside to find their garage fully engulfed in flame. By the time the first fire companies arrived on scene (Truck 35 and Engine 27), fire was coming out of almost every window in the structure.

Truck 35 and Truck 13 both set up their master streams and poured thousands of gallons of water and foam on the blaze. Because of the structure's weakened tile roof, firefighters remained outside the building and worked to gain access to the fire from the exterior. Every time it looked like the fire had been knocked down, another flame would pop up and have to be extinguished. Even during the downpours!

When the second alarm was struck, Fire Associates was requested to help assist with rehab. John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 and was met on scene by FASCV members Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker, and Dan Wong. A rehab area was quickly established near the IC and directly across from the burning structure. Since the event happened just before the noon hour, sandwiches and chips were ordered and Dan Wong left to go get the meals.

But, just before the sandwiches arrived back at the fireground, a rainstorm swept through the area soaking everything on scene -- benches, tables, Clif bars, coffee pots and all. Who says you can't have a fire in a rainstorm? But all the crews remaining on scene were served and FSU-3 was released at 3:45 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, November 15, 2013

FASCV Responds to Palo Alto Fire

Date and Time: 11-15-2013, 2323 hours
Agency: Palo Alto Fire Dept.
Incident Address: 2120 Princeton St., Palo Alto
Type: Full First
Details: Fire in a small single-story, single family dwelling.
Agency Responders:
PAF: E-2 (five hand lines), 4, 6; T-6, Medic-2, Batt. 6 (IC-Conn)
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4. Released: 0115 hours.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr (driver) and JerryHaag.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sacramento Fire Buffs Club Members Visit with Fire Associates In San Jose

Photos By John Whitaker
(Click On Photos for A Larger Version.)
At the request of the Sacramento Fire Buff Club, several FASCV members recently met with two of their members for lunch in San Jose. In attendance were Nik Stroiney and Dean Handy from Sacramento, and Jerry Haag, Don Gilbert, and John Whitaker from FASCV. Sacramento brought along their Fire Support Unit 1, while FASCV arrived with FSU-1 and FSU-2.

It proved to be a mutually beneficial meeting as details were shared about our club activities providing rehab services for our respective fire departments. Of primary interest was a walk-around of the support units and comparing their capabilities.
After lunch, John treated the group to a tour of the San Jose Fire Museum. The Sacramento fire buffs were justifiably impressed with the extent of the Museums' collection of antique and classic fire apparatus!
For more information about the fire support activities in the Sacramento area, go to the group's impressive web site and blog at:

-- Report submitted by John Whitaker