Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mt. View Hazmat Incident Becomes All-Night Event

Photo Courtesy of Deputy Chief Juan Diaz, Mt. View Fire
Date and Time: 09-24-2014, 2024 hours
Agency: Mountain View Fire
Type: Special Call, HazMat
Details: Intentional mixing of reactive chemicals resulted in a release of toxic gas that caused the death of two male individuals. Two large apartment buildings were vacated and an overnight shelter was set up by the city and staffed by the Red Cross. Heavy response by MTV Fire was supplemented by SNY Public Safety on scene and CNT responded for fire station back-fill. Extensive investigation, decon activities, and deaths of two individuals resulted in a lengthy on-scene duration by fire agencies and Fire Associates.
Agency Responders:
MTV: E-51,
52, 53, 54, 55; T-51; R-51; HM-55; Batt-51 (Custudio-IC), and 18A2 (Diaz)
SNY: E-42, 43; R-42
CNT: Station coverage.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 2130; Released 0430 (Sept. 25).
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver), Jerry Haag, Dan Wong, and Katelyn Garcia (guest).
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Power Lines Complicate 3-Alarm Response for A Structure Fire

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
On Wednesday, September 24, Fire Associates responded to a 3-alarm fire in San Jose. Located at 763 Concord Ave. near the intersection of Southwest Expressway and Fruitdale Ave., the area is a neighborhood of high-density apartment and condo-style housing. A drop line had fallen between a power supply pole and the rear of one of the apartment units.
As 3-alarm fires go, this was not a biggie. As a mater of fact, it probably wasn't much more than a full-first alarm. However, this fire did have potential -- a lot of potential, and thus, the reason for the 3 alarms. 
Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
The supply line was located at the rear of the units and the fire was not only burning in the structure, it was also burning up the pole which had a power transformer attached. The first-arriving Battalion Chief was worried that the entire supply line (which ran the length of the block) could fail and drop onto numerous housing units. As a mater of fact, before firefighters got a handle on the situation, the top of the power pole had almost burned completely through. As of this writing, it was unclear whether a fire on the pole had caused the line to fall, or whether the structure fire had burned through the line.
John Whiteside responded to the call for Rehab assistance and arrived on scene with Fire Support Unit 2. He was met by John Whitaker and, at the request of SJFD's Med30, they quickly set up a minimal Rehab area to provided cold drinks and Clif Bars. FASCV member Dan Wong also arrived on scene to help out. Most of the firefighters' time was spent waiting for PG&E to cut power to the block, and once that was accomplished, went to work with a salvage and overhaul operation. After being on scene for several hours, FASCV was released at 7:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pallet and Wood Box Fire Goes to A Second Alarm

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
At 2:50 A.M. in the morning, you don't want to be awakened -- especially on your birthday! But that's what happened to FASCV member John Whitaker on Tuesday, September 16th.
The San Jose Fire Department had responded to the report of a lumber yard on fire at 1080 Oakland Road. As Engine 5 was en route, it became obvious from the glow and smoke column that this was going to be "a worker" and the Captain called a second alarm right then and there.
When the Engine pulled up on scene, the exact location of the fire was changed from the lumberyard on Oakland Road to an adjacent pallet and wood box business. Located at 751 Mabury Rd., the fire was burning at Chualar Pallets Recycle -- and flames were reported to be 40 feet high.
Don Gilbert was first to respond to the page for assistance and quickly left for SJFD Station 6. As he was going to get Fire Support Unit 2, FASCV members Bruce Dembecki and John Whitaker responded to the scene in there personal vehicles. What they found was Oakland and Mabury Roads were completely blocked off with fire crews completely surrounding the blaze. 
Photo By Bruce Dembecki
Firefighters put several hand lines into operation as they tried to cool down stacks of pallets and wood boxes that were piled high with sawdust. Two master streams were also put into the firefight as the blaze was getting very hot. The word "bonfire" comes to mind!
Rehab was established at the Oakland/Mabury intersection and pots and pots of coffee were consumed in the early morning hours. But, as the sun began to rise, fire crews were released through Rehab and returned to service. By the time the sun was up, only two engine companies and truck crew remained on the fire and Fire Associates was released at approximately 7:00 A.M. 
Needless to say, John hadn't quite expected such an early party, or such a big candle, on his birthday.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker