Friday, January 31, 2014

Two-Alarm Fire Guts Santa Clara Home

Date and Time: 01-31-2014, 2:03 A.M.
Agency: City of Santa Clara
Incident Address: 5049 Avenida de Lago, Santa Clara
Type: Second Alarm
Agency Responders:
SNC: E-1, 6, 9, 10; T-8; HM-9Batt. 1 
SJS: Station fill
Details: Fire in two-story, single-family dwelling was well advanced at arrival of first unit. Second alarm and defensive operations commenced shortly thereafter. Elevated stream from T-8 was necessary. 
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-1. Released: 6:00 A.M. 
FASCV Responders: Haag (driver).
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Busy Weekend Continues for San Jose Firefighters and FASCV

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
After an already busy weekend, San Jose firefighters were summonsed to 1810 Almaden Road to reports of a commercial property fire at 11:19 A.M. on Sunday, January 19th. Firefighters arrived at a building contractors facility to find fire in the premises, and upgraded the incident to a second alarm, and then a third. Fire crews had the fire knocked down with 45 minutes.
Upon being paged out for the third alarm response at 11:40 A.M., Fire Associates member John Whiteside headed to Fire Station 6 to pick up Fire Support Unit 2, where he was met by member Don Gilbert. John and Don brought FSU-2 to the fire ground, where they were met by Fire Associates members Bruce Dembecki, Dan Wong, and George Hoyt. Cold drinks were served and once the IC formulated the overhaul plans meals were arranged for those crews working into the afternoon on the fire ground.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flames Coffee Shop Goes Up In, Well ... Flames

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
After a busy night, and two fires already under their belts, firefighters at San Jose Fire Station 9 slipped back into quarters at 6:00 A.M. to take a quick nap before end of shift. At 6:22 A.M., they were awoken by someone at the front door. The chef at Flames Coffee Shop was reporting the restaurant was on fire. Engine 9's Captain looked across the road to see the restaurant was fully involved in flames and got on the radio to request a first and second alarm response.
What apparently started as a grease fire in the kitchen quickly turned the whole building into an inferno. Flames were shooting 60' or more into the air from the structure located at 1812 Hillsdale Ave. The incident escalated to a 3rd and 4th alarm before an extended defensive attack finally quenched the flames. No-one was injured during the blaze.
As this unfolded, Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki was heading to Fire Station 6 to bring Fire Support Unit 2 to the scene. Arriving on scene around 7:00 A.M., Bruce was met by Fire Associates members Don Gilbert and Larry Carr, and later in the morning, Dan Wong and Cliff Smith also worked on scene. Directed to by the IC to establish Rehab across the street from the fire in the Target parking lot the team quickly setup hot and cold drinks for crews still working across the road. While the surround and drown effort was going on across the road crews came through rehab, where hot coffee was particularly popular. A passing citizen dropped off a supply of donuts which went quickly.
By 10:00 A.M., most fire crews had been released. While there will be an ongoing fire watch for the rest of the day and into Sunday, the fire was most definitely under control. FSU2 was released from the incident and returned to Fire Station 6 by 10:15 A.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Friday, January 17, 2014

FASCV Responds to 2-Alarm House Fire In South San Jose

Photo By Dan Wong
Date:  Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Agency:  San Jose Fire
Type:  2nd Alarm
5143 El Roble Court, San Jose
Responding Support Unit:  FSU-3, John Whiteside (driver)
FASCV Responders:  Dan Wong
On Friday, January 17, at approximately 8:55 P.M., San Jose Fire dispatched a full first alarm to a reported house fire at
5143 El Roble Court at Rio Verde Drive. This address is very near the Meridian Avenue over-crossing of Hwy. 85 in Station 17’s first-due area.
John Whiteside, monitoring the emergency radio, heard the dispatch and equipment from Stations 17, 13, and 9 arrived on scene almost simultaneously. The fire soon escalated to a 2nd alarm at the single-family, 1-story home, with a large attic space. Sometime before 2200 the Incident Commander requested Fire Associates' assistance.
Bruce Dembecki called John to check if he could take the call and John stated he was already preparing to depart home to get Fire Support Unit 3. John departed Station 35 at 10:10 P.M. for the few miles drive to the fire. Dan Wong arrived later and they ensured that the firefighters had liquids and Clif Bars available to enjoy on a nice, summer-like evening. After supporting rehab efforts, FSU-3 was released at 11:55 P.M. and returned to Station 35.

-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mutual Aid Units Respond to Palo Alto Second Alarm

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014.
Type: Second alarm
Location: 420 Fernando Ave, Palo Alto
Single-story. older residence (built 1924). Fire started in garage and moved to house.
Responding Units:
PAF: E 62, B 61, BS 2, T 66, E 65, E 63, E 66, Med ALS, Med BLS
MTV: B 18, T 51, E 53
CNT: E 75
IC: Capt Davis
FASCV responders: Carr (Driver FSU-4), Haag, Wong
-- Report submitted by Larry Carr

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Condo Fire Continues String of Structure Fires In San Jose

Photo By John Whitaker
Thursday, Jan. 9, had already been one of the busiest days in Fire Associates' history when, at 5:52 P.M., San Jose Fire Communications dispatched a Full First Alarm to a report of a townhome on fire. Engine 22 arrived at 6:00 P.M. and reported that 2 condos were fully involved. Engine 28 requested a 2nd Alarm at 6:02 P.M. The address was 1100 Trevino Terrace, near the intersection of Camden Ave. and Almaden Expressway.
With a large fire spanning the dinner hour, Fire Associates members knew help would be needed at this incident -- their 4th fire of the day! Bruce Dembecki responded to San Jose Fire Station 6 to pick up Fire Support Unit 2 and left for the scene by 7:00 P.M. He was joined on scene by Fire Associates members John Whitaker and Dan Wong. Meanwhile, John Whiteside went to Fire Station 35 and picked up Fire Support Unit 3 and set about sorting out a dinner plan. While FSU-2 set up Rehab and worked to rehydrate the fire crews, FSU-3 made the much-anticipated "Togos run" for sandwiches.
The incident was declared under control at 8:09 P.M. One townhome was destroyed and 2 others damaged. In addition, one Firefighter was transported to a local hospital for treatment of exhaustion. Fire Watch continued throughout the night.
The Fire Support Units were released from the scene at 9:00 P.M. With three significant events in San Jose alone on this day, FSU-2 needed to make a supply run to pick up water and Gatorade from Fire Station 30, before being put to bed in Fire Station 6 at 9:45 P.M.
  •     John Whitaker's photos can be viewed at:  Condo Fire 
  •     Bruce Dembecki's photos can be seen at:  Trevino Fire
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

FASCV Responds to Palo Alto for 2-Alarm Fire

Shortly after 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, Jan. 9, Palo Alto Fire Department requested the assistance of Fire Associates. Firefighters were working a structure fire at the intersection of Laguna Ave. and Barron Ave. They called for a second alarm, and resources came from Mountain View Fire and Santa Clara County Fire Department.

Fire Support Unit 4, a converted camper van owned by FASCV member Larry Carr, responded to the incident in an area known as the Baron Park neighborhood!

Meanwhile, Fire Support Unit 2 remained on scene with 5 engines and 6 truck companies at San Jose's 5-alarm fire on 28th St. In addition, Fire Support Unit 1 was on site at a "live fire" training exercise with County Fire in Cupertino in a few minutes.

Busy day around here!

-- Report from Fire Associates Facebook Page

5-Alarm Blaze Engulfs Huge San Jose Warehouse

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
As fires go, this was big!
San Jose firefighters were just wrapping up operations at a previous blaze on S. 17th Street, when reports came in that a warehouse was on fire near downtown. Located near the intersection of N. 28th Street and E. Julian Street, the first-arriving Truck Company quickly called a second and  third alarm -- all in the same radio transmission. That was a clue that this was going to be a long morning.
The fire was burning in a partially abandoned warehouse. Firefighters estimated that the building was approximately 80,000 to 100,000 square feet in size. By the time the first 3 alarms of equipment were on scene, the building was totally involved and threatening a row of nearby homes. In addition, there was an adjacent private school and other assorted warehouses, sheds, and small office buildings. To say that this provided a challenge would be an understatement.
Arriving with the first wave of firefighters was Fire Associates' Fire Support Unit 2. Don Gilbert was driving with John Whiteside as a passenger. Arriving with FSU-2 was John Whitaker in his personal vehicle. These FASCV members had been on scene of the earlier house fire 11 blocks away on S. 17th Street. Eventually, FASCV members on scene included: Don Gilbert, John Whiteside, John Whitaker, Dan Wong, George Hoyt, and Bob Gundrum.

Photo By John Whitaker
Once on scene, John Whiteside jumped out to scout out the area for a Rehab location. It was obvious that there was no immediate need for Rehab as every available firefighter on scene was actively involved with putting water on the blaze.
Rehab was eventually located adjacent to the Battalion 2 vehicle where chiefs were beginning to gather. The original IC site was located closer to the fire on Wooster Ave., but it was soon moved to the Battalion 2 location at the intersection of Wooster Ave. and E. Julian Street as the fire grew in size. Additionally, exploding propane tanks made the move to a site further away more prudent.
By the time the fire fight was at its peak, 5 alarms had been called and there were at least 6 aerial ladders pouring water on the structure. Reports on scene said that the warehouse was still partially occupied with roof tile, sheetrock and plumbing companies, as well as a hay barn, but a large portion was vacant. The operation was totally defensive from the start as the building was quickly collapsing into a burning pile of rubble. Fire apparatus and/or personnel joining the battle from other departments included the City of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Gilroy.
As Fire Associates members were waiting in the IC area for the first firefighters to arrive in Rehab, they began to look for other ways to contribute. As the chiefs were trying to get a handle on the layout of the fireground, using hand-drawn maps to try and describe the area, John Whitaker "called up" Google Maps on his iPhone and offered it to the IC. Using that resource, the fire operations officers were able to get a much better handle on the physical layout of the area.
Photo By John Whitaker
At about that same time, a light mist of rain began to fall, making the horizontal whiteboard table on the back of the Battalion vehicle almost useless. Water and ink on whiteboards gets to be pretty messy.  John asked the chiefs if the FASCV "E-Z Up" awning would be of help, and the quick reply was, "YES!" The awning was quickly erected and the whiteboard was back in service. It was well into the event before the SJFD Incident Command Van arrived on scene and was put into use.
Rehab operations were slow to start, but once it got going, pots of coffee, water, Gatorade and Clif Bars were flying off the shelf! With 5 alarms of firefighters on site, Rehab became a very busy place. A guesstimate of the number of pots of coffee brewed would be impossible! As lunch time rolled around, a SJFD courier arrived with bags and bags of Togo's sandwiches which were all served by Fire Associates to tired and hungry crews.
FSU-2 remained on scene until the last of the embers were extinguished. Rehab was broken down and FASCV members released at approximately 3:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Downtown San Jose House Fire Starts A Rash of Jan. 9th Responses for FASCV Members

Photo By John Whitaker
At approximately 4:00 A.M. on Thursday, Jan. 9, Fire Associates members were paged to a fire burning in the Naglee Park residential neighborhood. Located east of San Jose State University at 123 S. 17th Street, the fire was burning in a classic, old craftsman-style home. Firefighters from all over the downtown area arrived on the scene to find the front porch totally engulfed and the fire spreading rapidly. Initially, the residents were unaccounted for, so primary search operations were put into effect. Eventually, fire crews found the occupants in the rear yard of the property, having escaped out the back of the structure.
Firefighters had a tough time suppressing the blaze as the heavy wood timbers used in the home provided a lot of fuel for the blaze. Once the fire was under control, a lot of overhaul was required as the two-story home had been severely damaged.
Don Gilbert responded to the scene in Fire Support Unit 2 with John Whiteside. Upon arrival, they were met by FASCV member John Whitaker who had already met up with SJFD's Med30 supervisor. Rehab had been set up in the front yard of a neighbor's home and a formal rehab scenario was already in progress. Med30 had totally run our of fluids for the exhausted firefighters, so FSU-2 replenished his supply. FSU-2 also provided scene lighting as truck companies were released back into service.
But, just as fire crews were being released to return to quarters, news of another fire called them back into action.

It was approximately 5:40 A.M. when a warehouse caught fire 11 blocks to the northeast of this fire. FSU-2 was quickly released by the 17th Street IC to respond to the new blaze. A column of smoke from that fire was already visible in the early morning darkness!
A report on this second major fire of the morning can be read in another post in this blog page.
  • A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at:  Burning Home
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker