Thursday, May 29, 2014

Late Afternoon Vegetation Fire Along Coyote Creek

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date: 05-29-2014
Agency: San Jose Fire
Address: 1003 Kitchner Circle (In the creek area)
Type:  Tier 1, Vegetation Fire
Details:  Residents along Coyote Creek reported a grass fire late in the afternoon. Engine 24 was first to arrive and initially reported a slow-moving grass fire adjacent to the creek. As the firefight progressed, the goal was to keep the blaze out of the heavier brush along the creekbed. For the most part, firefighters were able to accomplish their objective with only minimal involvement of the heavier vegetation. FSU-3 arrived to provide firefighters with hydration relief as the incident moved into the overhaul phase. John Whiteside had been listening to the fire on his emergency scanner and had called dispatch to see if FASCV support was needed. The reply was "Yes", and John responded in Fire Support Unit 3.
Responding FASCV Rig:  FSU-3
FASCV Responders: John Whiteside (driver), Bruce Dembecki, John Whitaker, and Kenny Needham (guest)
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Milpitas Firefighters Attack Duplex Blaze

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date:  05-21-2014
Agency: Milpitas Fire 
Incident Address: 226 Evening Star Ct.
Type: Duplex fire 

Details: Duplex Left side B, C, Fire wall stopped fire from spreading to right side duplex.
Agency Responders:

Milpitas Batt. 186, USAR 86, E-86, 87, 87, E88, T89.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1, Arrived: 12:30; Released: 15:30
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver), Bruce Dembecki, and Bob Gundrum.
-- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outside Fire Results In Loss of Gilroy Residence

Photo By Jaime Norton
May 15 was a hot day in south Santa Clara County. Shortly after 1330 hours, Morgan Hill Cal Fire received multiple calls for a vegetation fire with structures involved at 1000 Geri Lane, off of Day Road. This location is in the South Santa Clara County Fire District, southwest of Morgan Hill and just yards outside Gilroy's northern city limit. 
FASCV member John Whiteside was at a luncheon in Santa Clara, monitored the dispatch, and being the only driver available for south county at the time, started driving toward the Fire Support Units in south San Jose in case FASCV would be requested.
A one-half acre grass fire had spread to a small out-building and a large, 2-story, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. home. The structures were on the side of a hill, and long hose lays were required, making relay pumping a necessity. A hydrant on Rancho Hills Drive in Gilroy was the water source. 
The fire dispatch included 15 engines/water tenders, 2 dozers, air attack, plus Copter 106, 2 hand crews, and various overhead support. Engines responded from the fire district, Gilroy, Cal Fire Felton, Monterey, and Santa Clara unit stations. San Jose sent an engine company for station coverage.
At 1451 hours, Fire Associates were paged for a Fire Support Unit to respond to the scene. John responded to San Jose station 35 to drive FSU-3. After loading all the ice he could manage on board the FSU, he departed for the fire, arriving about 1555 hours, after being re-directed southward to set up Rehab on the pavement at the end of Rancho Hills Drive, in Gilroy, near the Sunrise Fire station, and within yards of the fire scene. By this time, the "air show" was over; dozers and hand crews had been released. Later, guest, Ken Needham, arrived to assist. Lemonade, cold drinks, CLIF bars and later, dinner was served to the hot firefighters. 
John left the scene by way of Cal Fire Morgan Hill headquarters to replenish his ice supply, then returned to station 35, arriving at 2110.
--  Report Submitted by John Whiteside

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fire Associates Needs Your Help

The conversion of county fire agencies to the new 700MHz digital trunked systems is starting. Santa Clara and Sunnyvale are first. As additional agencies convert, our rig radios will be rendered obsolete. For safety and operational reasons, we must be able to communicate with our served agencies.
Previously, we have had surplus radios donated to us by various agencies or have funded them from our own resources. However, surplus radios are not available and new dual band replacement radios for the four rigs will cost nearly $20,000. 
We cannot fund that cost from current assets without seriously depleting our reserve funds. As a result, the Board of Directors has established the FASCV Radio Fund. 
Donations from members, firefighters, agencies, and benefactors will be greatly appreciated. Checks should be made payable to FASCV with a notation in the memo field indicating "Radio Fund" and sent to attention of Cliff Smith, Treasurer, FASCV, 1166 Cameo Drive, Campbell, CA, 95008. Donations may also be made by PayPal and additional mechanisms are available on our web site:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Landfill Fire Proves Challenging to San Jose Firefighters

Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Date and Time:  5-11-2014, 6:37 P.M.
Agency: San Jose Fire
Incident Address: Zanker Landfill, 705 Los Esteros Road
Type: Special request, Meal service

Details: Deep-seated fires in several massive compost piles. Water had to be shuttled using Tenders. Piles needed to be redistributed using large front-loaders and dozers. Fire department response was equivalent to two alarms. With nightfall, the fires were still burning. Operations were reduced to fire watch and will need to be recommenced in the morning.
Med 30 requested that Fire Associates respond and serve meals to firefighters that had been working since about 1630. Mike Garcia and Jerry Haag responded with Fire.Support Unit #1 and were met on the scene by George Hoyt and Kenny Needham (guest). Bruce Dembecki and son picked up burritos that had been ordered by Dispatch and brought them to the scene.
Agency Responders:
SJS: (Partial list) E-1, 4, 6, 612, 9, 12, 23, 25, 31; WT-2, 18; Batt. 1, 29
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 7:00 P.M.; Released 9:30 P.M.
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver), Bruce Dembecki (and son, Quinn), Jerry Haag, George Hoyt, and Kenny Needham (guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sad News As FASCV Member Passes After Lengthy Illness

Mike Chappell   1957-2014
We are saddened to report that Fire Associates member Mike Chappell has answered his last alarm after a long illness.

While an active member of Fire Associates for many years, Mike was also heavily involved in numerous South County emergency programs. Mike worked in the radio room at CalFire's SCU Morgan Hill headquarters before going on to work in the warehouse.

Mike was also a Paid Call Firefighter for the South Santa Clara Fire District, and a long time member of the CalFire VIP program. In addition to his work with CalFire and Fire Associates Mike's love of radio communications had him involved in the Morgan Hill and Gilroy ARES/RACES programs.

When not dealing with an emergency, Mike could be found at  a San Francisco Giants game, or at the race track, where Mike was a pit crew member on a Morgan Hill based late model super stock car.

There will be a memorial service for Mike on May 9, 2014 at 1:00 P.M.
The memorial service will be held in the chapel at the City of Santa Clara Mission City Memorial Park at 420 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara, CA, 95052. The chapel is located next to the main office.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in memory of Michael Chappell to:
Alisha Ann Ruch Burn Foundation
4534 Mission St, Suite 5
San Francisco, CA 94112

Or, by making a contribution to the Fire Associates Radio Fund, by clicking the link to the Fire Associates Donate page at:

Two Die In Sunnyvale Mobile Home Fire

Date and Time: 05-08-2014, 2:06 A.M.
Agency: Sunnyvale Public Safety
Incident Address: 1050 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale
Type: Second Alarm
Details: Fire in modern double-wide, manufactured home. Severe damage. Two fatalities. Deck gun used to prevent spread to Charlie exposure.
Agency Responders:
SNY:  E-41, 42, 45, 46. 242, 246; T-41; R-42; B-42 (Rushmeyer, IC)
FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1. Arrived: 0300; Released 0630.
FASCV Responders:  Jerry Haag (driver); Mike Garcia; and Captain Nic Grossi, SJFD-Retired (guest).
 -- Report submitted by Jerry Haag