Monday, November 30, 2015

Mountain View Firefighters Attack Fast-moving Blaze

Photo By Mike Garcia
Date and Time: Nov. 30, 2015, 2:49 P.M.
Agency: Mountain View Fire
Type: Second alarm
Location: 230 Lassen Ave., Mountain View
Details: Fast developing fire in a single-story, Eichler-type dwelling had spread to the exposure on the "Bravo" side before arrival of first engine. Six hose lines were ultimately pumped by Engine 51. Heavy contents load in the building of origin made complete extinguishment a lengthy and laborious process. Four adults were displaced. Fire Support Unit 1 arrived at about 3:20 P.M. and was released from the scene at 5:00 P.M.
Agency Responders:
  Mountain View: Engines 51, 53, 54, and 55; Rescue 51; Truck 51; BC 51 (Custodio-IC); 18A1 (Diaz); 18K1
  Palo Alto: E-64;T-66; BC-66
  XSC: Medic-19 + Supervisor
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr, Mike Garcia (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Monday, November 9, 2015

3-Alarm Fire Destoys San Jose Apartment Building

Photo by Craig Allyn Rose
At a little before 4:00 A.M. on Nov. 9, the Fire Associates pagers started going off. Located at 5583 Walnut Blossom Drive, the San Jose Fire Dept. was working an apartment fire and they had just gone to a 3rd alarm. John Whiteside headed to Fire Station 35 to get Fire Support Unit 3 while Bill Roth picked up donuts and Bruce Dembecki went straight to the scene.

The blaze had destroyed multiple units in one building of the Blossom Oaks Apartments, a complex with more than 20 buildings. With flames as high as 50 feet coming from the roof of the two-story building, firefighters called a second alarm. When the roof collapsed over 4 of the 2nd story units, a third alarm was struck. Eight of the 22 units in the fire building were heavily damaged, and several others suffered minor damage. Firefighters worked to prevent the spread of the blaze to other buildings.
The fire was placed under control at 7:00 A.M. and fire crews remained on scene throughout the day.
A large number of residents from the fire building and nearby buildings were out on the street. Several VTA buses were called in to provide residents with shelter from the elements while the Red Cross worked to establish temporary accommodation for almost 50 displaced residents. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.
Fire Associates established Rehab, on this cool Sunday morning, on Walnut Blossom Dr. and with the cool morning our hot coffee proved very popular with the firefighters, as were the donuts, of course.
    • A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at this link:  Apartment Fire
      • Craig Allyn Rose's photos can be viewed at this link:  Walnut Blossom
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

      Thursday, November 5, 2015

      Palo Alto Firefighters Attack House Blaze

      Date:  Nov. 5, 2015
      Agency:  Palo Alto Fire
      Type: House fire
      Incident Address:  584 Maybell Ave., Palo Alto
      Details:  Immediately went defensive, FASCV requested by BC
      Agency Responders:
          PDFD: BC 66 Bale; E 61, 62, 64, 65; T 66, BS 62; PM 62
          MVFD: T51; BC 51
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1; Arrived: 11:00 P.M., Released 1:00 A.M. (Nov. 6, 2015)
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver) and Larry Carr
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Tuesday, November 3, 2015

      Sushi Restaurant "Cooks" In Sunnyvale

      Date:  Nov. 3, 2015
      Agency:  Sunnyvale Fire
      Type:  Restaurant fire
      Incident Address:  595 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
      Details:  Sushi restaurant; start in kitchen; burned all night

      Agency Responders:
          SNYDPS:  BC Aherrn; E 41, 42, 243, 43, 244, 44, 45, 46, 246; T41, 42; Rescue
          SCFD:  E 95 covered station
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1; Arrived: 6:40 A.M., Released 9:15 A.M.
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver) and Len Williams
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Monday, November 2, 2015

      Fire Associates Responds to House Fire in Sunnyvale

      Date:  Nov. 2, 2015
      Agency:  Sunnyvale Fire
      Type:  House fire
      Incident Address:  778 Lakewood, Sunnyvale
      Details:  One-story, Eichler-style house
      The following "first-person" account was provided by FASCV Vice Presidet, Bob Gundrum:
      "This fire was at 778 Lakewood Drive, across the street from my house at about a 45-degree angle. My wife, Janet, called me out of our back yard to look at some smoke coming up from behind the house across the street. I went over to bang on the door and alert the three residents, who had just become aware of the 'problem'. One resident tried to get a garden hose from the front yard to attack the fire. Response of SNY was delayed since the initial report indicated the fire was on the bayside of Hwy. 101 - NORTH of Fair Oaks Ave. That was a significant error because, in fact, the fire was just north of Lawrence Expy. SNY dispatched on the initial report to the area of 101 & Fair Oaks. I tried calling 9-1-1 and got a busy signal, then heard one of the residents say she lived at 778 Lakewood Dr. and her home was on fire. The neighbor immediately west of the incident arrived home and I went into her back yard and was able to get garden hose water on the fire located in a covered patio area until SNY apparatus arrived. As SNY was getting lines in place, a gust of wind came up and the rest was history."
      Agency Responders:
          SNYDPS: BC Aherrn; E 41, 42, 244, 44, 45, 46, 246; T41, 42; Rescue 41
          SCFD: E 95 covered station
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1; Arrived: 5:30 P.M., Released 7:30 P.M.
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver), Bob Gundrum, and Len Williams
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Thursday, October 29, 2015

      Fire Associates Participates in 2015 Burn Relay


          Video of Our Run Along Mission Street, SF
      Video by Bill Roth
      The Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley recently participated in an annual fund-raising event to benefit severely burned children. Held to benefit the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, the Peninsula Firefighters Burn Relay involves a procession of antique, classic, and in-service fire and police apparatus that winds its way between Moffett Field and San Francisco. During the day-long event, the Code-3 relay stops at various fire stations to "collect" funds raised by all the departments.
      This year, FSU-1 and FSU-2 both were part of the event. FSU-1 was driven by Mike Garcia with Jerry Haag along as a passenger, while John Whitaker and Bill Roth shared the driving in FSU-2. In order to stay in service, FSU-1 went as far as Menlo Park. At that point, Mike returned with the support unit to Santa Clara while Jerry joined up with FSU-2 for the remainder of the trip up to San Francisco.
      At the end of the day, $87,618.72 was collected, including a donation from FASCV. The money is used to fund a week-long summer camp for severely burned children and fire safety education efforts.
      John's photos from the event can be viewed at:

      -- Report submitted by John Whitaker

      Monday, October 26, 2015

      Middle-of-the-night Vegetation Fire Keeps San Jose Firefighters Busy

      On Monday, October 26, San Jose Fire dispatched a Tier 2 brush fire response to Santa Teresa Boulevard at Bailey Avenue, in south San Jose. At 3:33 A.M., Cal Fire Morgan Hill dispatched a response of 6 engines, 1 dozer and 1 Chief to assist San Jose. San Jose paged Fire Associates at 3:29 A.M. for a Fire Support Unit and John Whiteside responded with FSU-3, departing San Jose Station 35 for the short drive to the fire.
      As John neared the scene, he could see a very impressive fire line snaking up the hillsides toward Santa Teresa County Park, with red lights flashing from many fire rigs alongside the flames. John was directed down a paved access road off Santa Teresa near Bayliss Avenue. This road marked the southern edge of the fire and kept the fire from spreading in that direction. Within a few minutes, less than half the fire line was visible, indicating a successful mobile attack on the mostly high-weed-covered landscape.
      John provided water, Gatorade and Clif bars for the firefighters. After 2 hours, most of the fire units had been released, except for several rigs waiting for Dozer 1641 to complete a dozer line around the fire, which was estimated at 5+ acres. FSU-3 was released at 6:05 A.M. and returned to quarters. 
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Saturday, October 24, 2015

      Milpitas Firefighters Tackle Fast-Moving Vegetation Fire

      Date and Time:  Oct. 24, 2015, 3:30 P.M.
      Agency:  Milpitas Fire
      Type:  Voluntary Response
      Location:  End of Calaveras Ridge Drive, Milpitas

      Details:  Fast-moving vegetation fire at the bottom of a very steep (45-degree) slope. Fire started near the road and was only about an acre when first units arrived but it quickly raced up the hill all the way to the ridge. Protecting a structure, stopping and extinguishing it took hundreds of feet of progressive hose lay, a chopper and fixed wing drop retardant drops. About 50 acres burned. Over 15 fire units on-scene. Fire Support Unit 1 arrived at about 4:00 P.M. and was released from the scene at 7:30 P.M.

      Agency Responders:
        Spring Valley
        San Jose: Station fill
      FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1.
      FASCV Responders: Haag (driver)
      -- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

      Wednesday, October 21, 2015

      Sunnyvale Strip Mall Hit by 2-Alarm Blaze

      Date and Time: 10-21-2015, 5:30 A.M.
      Agency: Sunnyvale Public Safety
      Type: Second Alarm
      Location: 208 S Fair Oaks Ave., Sunnyvale
      Details: Barbershop in a small, single-story strip mall. Exposures on the "B" and "D" sides were threatened but aggressive attack, aided by good fire separation walls, prevented serious fire damage to the adjoining businesses. The barber shop was seriously damaged. At one point, two elevated streams were in use and three 5-inch water supply lines were on the ground. Old, heavy construction and numerous voids in the roof space lead to an extended operation. Fire Support Unit 1 arrived at about 6:00 A.M. and was released from the scene at 9:30 A.M.
      Agency Responders:
        SNY: E-41, 42, 43, 243, 44, 46; T-41, 42; R-41; Batt. 42 (Longnecker-IC)
        SNC: Station fill
        MTV: Station fill
        XSC: M-2, 66; Supervisor
      Responding Support Unit: FSU-1.
      FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver), Jerry Haag, and Len Williams
      -- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

      Saturday, October 10, 2015

      San Martin Structure Fire Destroys Garage

      Photo By Bill Roth
      Saturday, October 10 at 8:29 P.M., Fire Associates received a request from South Santa Clara County Fire (Cal Fire) in Morgan Hill to respond to a working structure fire on Terri Lynn Court located off Center Ave. near its intersection with Masten Ave., in San Martin. The site was about 2 miles east of Station 68. 
      Bill Roth lives a few miles from the scene and he was first to respond with drinks and Clif Bars. John Whiteside and his son Randy brought Fire Support Unit 3 to the scene, departing at 9:16 P.M. from San Jose Station 35. Rehab was set up with benches, cold drinks, coffee, Clif Bars and doughnuts available to the firefighters.
      Fire units from Gilroy, Cal Fire, and San Jose assisted at the incident. Engine tanks and water tender shuttles were used for a water supply. The fire was contained to the home's garage, burning through the roof. After providing support, Fire Associates members were released at 11:55.
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Friday, October 9, 2015

      Firefighters Attack Grass Fire Located South of Gilroy

      Photo Provided By Bill Roth
      Friday, October 9, at 6:53 P.M., Gilroy Fire paged Fire Associates to respond to south Gilroy to assist with meals and drinks for firefighters. A large grass fire was burning in the area of Travel Park Circle near the intersection of Monterey Road and Highway 101. The fire started near that location and spread southward along the Union Pacific railroad main-line right of way. The fire burned for more than 1 mile, then jumped the tracks to also burn on the property of the local sewage treatment plant.
      The initial dispatch occurred around 5:30 P.M and Morgan Hill Cal Fire headquarters sent equipment, including 11 engines and water tenders from the South Santa Clara County Fire District and Cal Fire, to assist Gilroy units, while fire units from San Jose Fire covered a Gilroy station.
      Fire Associates member Bill Roth responded from north of Gilroy in his POV with drinks and Clif bars. John Whiteside was already in Morgan Hill and responded after contacting Don Gilbert to bring Fire Support Unit 3 to the fire. Gilroy Fire provided burritos to the firefighters. While Bill maintained his position near the origin with his supplies, Don and John in FSU-3 were directed to follow Gilroy units onto the sewage plant property, driving on the levees around the grassy basins, which had burned. Drinks and Clif bars were provided.
      It was estimated that 30+ acres burned. Rail traffic, including the No. 14 Amtrak Starlight, was halted until the track area was safe for traffic. Several freight trains came through the area, restricted to 10 mph.
      At 10:30 P.M., Fire Associates members were released. Don and John were over 30 miles south of San Jose and had a late-night, un-congested drive back home.
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Thursday, October 8, 2015

      Two Vegetation Fires Keep Fire Crews Busy

      Date:  Oct. 8, 2015;  4:33 P.M.
      Agency:  San Jose Fire
      Type:  Tier 2 Vegetation Fire
      Location:  Hellyer Avenue at Hwy. 101

      Details:  San Jose Fire Dept. units responded with Santa Clara County Parks and Cal Fire. Two fires, one on west side of Highway 101 at the Hellyer exit and a larger, second fire east of Highway 101 about half mile. Total 5 aces per SJS PIO.

      Fire Support Unit:  FSU-3
      FASCV Responders:  John Whiteside (driver)

      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Tuesday, October 6, 2015

      Eichler Home Burns In Sunnyvale

      Photo By Mike Garcia
      Date:  Oct. 6, 2015; 3:14 P.M.
      Agency:  Sunnyvale DPS
      Type:  2-Alarm Structure Fire
      Details:  House fire in a 1-story Eichler home.
      Agency Responders:
         SNY DPS:  BC Locke; E41, E42, E243, E44, E45, E46; T41 and T42; R42; plus 14 Sunnyvale fire academy recruits.
         SNC:  E94 for station coverage.
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1; Arrived 3:15 P.M., Released 6:45 P.M.
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver) and Len Williams
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Monday, October 5, 2015

      Sunnyvale Auto Accident Possibly Results In House Fire

      Photo By Mike Garcia
      Date:  Oct. 5, 2015
      Agency:  Sunnyvale Fire 

      Type:  2-Alarm House Fire
      Incident Address:  915 Homestead Rd.
      Details:  A car hit a power pole earlier in the morning resulting in a power loss to a one-block area. PG&E arrived on scene to turn power back on at about 4:49 P.M. and then saw smoke and flames coming from the house next to the pole. Homestead Rd. was shut down north and south do to smoke.
      Agency Responders:
          SNY DPS:  IC Clifford; E43, E243, E41, E44, E244; T41; R42.
          SNC: E99 covered SNY station.
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1; Arrived: 5:30 P.M., Released 7:30 P.M.
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver)
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Sunday, October 4, 2015

      4-Alarm Fire Causes Severe Damage to San Jose Strip Mall

      Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
      On Sunday morning, October 4, reports of a fire were called in to San Jose Fire dispatchers at 2:45 A.M. The blaze was burning at a large, block-long strip mall called the Caribbees Center. Located in south San Jose, the main focus of the fire was in the Cho Senter Market - a large, Vietnamese-themed, grocery store at 2889 Senter Road. This area of Senter Road is located between Umbarger and Lewis Roads.
      Within minutes, the alarm level was upgraded to 3 alarms and at 3:00 A.M. Fire Associates members were paged to respond to the structure fire. Not long after that, another page stated the fire was at a 4th alarm!
      Fire Associates member Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 2 at 3:18 A.M. Don set up Rehab on Senter Road across the street from the fire scene. Here, FASCV members could take care of the firefighters on the “Alpha” and “Delta” sides of the fire. At 4:25 A.M., John Whiteside responded with FSU-3 and met Don on scene. At the request of Med 30, John positioned FSU-3 on Lewis Road at Hunken Drive, 2 blocks away from Don. From this location, he could handle firefighters on the “Charlie” and “Bravo” sides. Soon after John set up the second Rehab site, FASCV member Mike Garcia arrive on scene to assist.
      Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
      Four aerial ladders were flowing water and at least 3 stangs/monitors were also employed. Parts of the parking lot became flooded due to blocked drains and there were concerns some businesses, not affected by the fire, might have water intrusion.
      Lots of coffee, drinks, donuts, and Clif bars were consumed. Both support units were released at 9:25 A.M. and returned to their respective quarters. 
      San Jose Fire units were still on scene Monday morning. From some overheard radio traffic, fire units from Milpitas, Santa Clara, and Santa Clara County covered San Jose stations during this event.
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside  

      Thursday, October 1, 2015

      October Starts with House Fire In Milpitas

      Date:  Oct. 1, 2015
      Agency: Milpitas Fire
      Type:  2-Alarm Structure Fire
      Incident Address:  476 Maple Ave., Milpitas
      Details: House fire with steel roof. FSU-1 arrived on scene at 5:00 P.M. for Rehab support and was released at 7:00 P.M.
      Agency Responders:
        MLP:  BC 86 (Stelling); Engines 188, 86, and 87; Trucks 86 and 89; USAR 81.
        San Jose and Fremont crews called for station coverage.
      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver) and Dan Wong
      • A San Jose Mercury News story can be read at:  House Fire  
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Sunday, September 27, 2015

      Tier 2 Vegetation Fire in San Jose Brings Fire Associates to the Scene

      Date:  Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015; 4:06 P.M.
      Agency:  San Jose
      Type:  Tier 2 Vegetation Fire
      Location:  Interstate 280 at McLaughlin Ave., San Jose
      Details:  Vegetation blaze burned along the edge of Interstate 280 near Coyote Creek. Fire crews accessed the blaze off Remillard Court and at 965 McLaughlin Ave. Just before FSU-2 departed Station 6, the IC asked that Med 30 be dispatched to provide drinks. Someone replied that Med 30 would have to respond to Station 30 to refill the rig's drink supply as it had been exhausted on its last run. San Jose Dispatch stated Fire Associates was ready to go en route and the IC said, "Come On!"
      Once on scene atop the landfill, one cooler was dropped off and then FSU-2 proceeded to the road behind some adjacent buildings to serve the engine crews stationed there. Finishing up, FSU-2 also provided service to crews at the rear of Wal-Mart. On the way back to the station, the FSU had to buy 100 lbs. of ice at Wal-Mart to replenish the FASCV freezer at Station 6.
      Fire Support Unit:  FSU-2
      FASCV Responders:  Don Gilbert (driver) and John Whiteside

      -- Report Submitted by John Whiteside

      Saturday, September 26, 2015

      San Jose Firefighters Attack 2-Alarm House Fire

      Date:  Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, 4:50 P.M.
      Agency:  San Jose
      Type:  2-Alarm House Fire
      Location:  3146 Marten Ave., San Jose
      Details:  San Jose firefighters worked a 2-alarm structure fire on Marten Ave. (near S. White Road) across the street from Mt. Pleasant High School. Fire crews worked to quell the blaze in 2 houses, with the "Delta" exposure side having caught. Only external damage resulted as the occupant was able to remain in the house that night. Fire Support Unit 2 responded to a special request on the air from the IC. John Whiteside drove the rig to the scene for Rehab on a hot, late summer afternoon. FSU-2 departed Station 6 at 5:30 P.M. and John met Mike Garcia at the scene. Med 30 later asked FASCV (Mike) to pick up 6 burritos for the ambulance crew and fire crew awaiting the board-up contractor.
      FASCV Support Unit:  FSU-2
      FASCV Responders:  John Whiteside and Mike Garcia
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Monday, September 21, 2015

      Fire Associates Makes Late-Night Run to Summit Road Blaze

      Photo By Bill Roth
      On September 21, at 17 minutes past midnight, Cal Fire Morgan Hill received multiple calls of a structure fire at 70 Summit Rd. Summit Rd. runs along the top of the hills west of Morgan Hill and marks the border between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The blaze was intensive enough that responders from the South Santa Clara County Fire Protection District station in San Martin could see the blaze from many miles away as they departed their station. 
      Fire Associates received a page at 2:45 A.M. for a Fire Support Unit to respond and John Whiteside volunteered to drive FSU-3. He left south San Jose and headed to Morgan Hill where he stopped to pick up FASCV member Bill Roth. They continued to the fire, arriving at approximately 4:00 A.M. The fire scene was located 2 miles up Summit Road from Highway 152, with access through Mt. Madonna Park.
      Plenty of doughnuts, Clif bars, coffee, water, and Gatorade were well received by the tired firefighters. Later in the morning, breakfast burritos were furnished by Cal Fire logistics. In the end, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Cal Fire Units responded engines to the fire. They were joined by water tenders from the Loma Prieta and Spring Valley Volunteers as well as a water tender from the San Jose Fire Dept. Because a Humboldt County Cal Fire strike team was covering Santa Cruz stations, one HUU engine was also dispatched to the call.
      The 2,500+ sq. ft. home, surrounded by tall trees, was a total loss. A resulting 1-acre wild land fire was contained with the assistance of Cal Fire's Ben Lomond Fire Crew 3 and Almaden Crew 1. Almost 600 feet of supply line hose was laid from the pumping engine located at the portable dump tank. Supplied by the water tenders out on on the road, the hose lay went along the driveway up to the 3 engines located at the house. Since the alarm was for both structure and wild land incidents, 15 engines, 5 water tenders, and 2 dozers were dispatched. Some crews remained on scene for the rest of the day.
      FSU-3 was released at 8:45 A.M. and returned to quarters after replenishing their water and Gatorade supply from Morgan Hill Cal Fire. 
      -- Report submitted by John Whitside

      Wednesday, September 9, 2015

      San Jose Firefighters Attack Tier 2 Fire In Coyote Creek

      Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
      Wednesday, September 9, was a VERY hot day in San Jose. At approximately 7:00 P.M., San Jose Fire dispatched a Tier 1 response to a vegetation fire located at 1358 Oakland Road, near Gish Road. To the rear of the Riverbend Mobile Home Park, a fire had started in Coyote Creek. It quickly spread south and across the creek which requiring the incident to be upgraded to a Tier 2 response. The additional fire units were directed to a location at Hazlett Way (Sierra Road) and Notting Hill Drive -- across the creek on the east side of the San Jose Municipal Golf Course.
      At the dispatch of the Tier 2, Bob Gundrum sent out a “Heads Up” page to all FASCV drivers. John Whiteside called San Jose Dispatch to inquire if Fire Associates would be requested and the answer was "YES!", due to the heat. In fact, Dispatchers were just preparing to issue the request. John met Don Gilbert at Station 6 and they took Fire Support Unit 2 to the scene -- assigned to the east side. Upon arrival, they found several 5-inch hose lines were being used to supply various engines and brush patrols with some engines using their Stang monitor to hit areas that were ablaze. After providing Rehab services to many hot and thirsty firefighters, John and Don were released at 11:00 P.M.  
      As a follow-up to this report, many trees had become involved and for safety reasons it was decided to wait for daylight before attempting to fall them. Crews were rotated throughout the night for fire watch. As Thursday morning began to dawn, tree fallers were on the job with at least 15 trees marked for falling due to their burned-out condition. Fire crews were on scene to extinguish the trees as they fell. News reports pegged the fire at 7 acres in size.
      •  More photos by Craig Allyn Rose can be Viewed at:  Tier 2 Fire 
      -- Report submitted by John Whiteside

      Monday, September 7, 2015

      House Fire On A Very Hot Day Requires Fire Associates Response to Milpitas

      Photo By Bruce Dembecki
      Date:  Monday, Sept. 7, 2015
      Agency:  MLP
      Type:  1 Alarm

      On a very hot Labor Day, Milpitas Fire responded to reports of a house on fire. First-arriving fire unit (Engine 87) reported flames through the roof. While firefighters started an aggressive interior attack to try and control the blaze, additional crews worked to protect the "Delta" exposure. Reports of explosions at the rear, and a propane-fed fire, caused the IC to switch to a defensive operation.
      Just before 6:00 P.M., with heat in the mid 90s, Fire Associates was requested for Rehab support. FASCV president Bruce Dembecki responded to the scene with Fire Support Unit 2 and crews thankfully set about downing much water and Gatorade.
      By 8:30 P.M., all crews had been released from the scene and Fire Support Unit 2 went back into service.
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

      Saturday, September 5, 2015

      FSU-1 Responds to Sunnyvale Grass Fire

      Date:  Sept. 5, 2015
      Agency:  Sunnyvale Fire
      Type:  Grass fire
      Incident Address:  Lawrence Expy. and Hwy. 237

      Details:  2 acres of vegetation at Baylands Park. Started by Drone. FSU-1 arrived at 12:00 P.M. and was released at 2:00 P.M.

      Agency Responders:
         SNY DPS:  BC Rushmeyer, E42, E242, E43, E243, E44, E244, E46, and E246
         San Jose:  E25

      FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1
      FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver), Bob Gundrum, and Ken Needham (guest)
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Fourth Fire in 24 Hours Brings Firefighters and Fire Associates Back to Earlier Fire

      Photo By Bruce Dembecki
      Can a house burn twice in less than 24 hours? The answer is apparently, "Yes!"
      At 3:00 A.M., on Saturday, Sept. 5,  San Jose Fire responded to a rekindle of an earlier blaze at 191 N. 9th Street. This time the building was a total loss with roof collapsed, etc. Worse than that, there was also significant damage on the "Bravo" and "Delta" exposures.
      At 4:30 A.M., a special request was made for FASCV support. Bruce Dembecki responded bringing 2 dozen donuts. In addition, 5 pots of coffee were quickly consumed. At 7:00 A.M., the incident switched to "fire watch" mode and most crews released and Bruce demobbed.
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

      Friday, September 4, 2015

      Fire Associates Responds to 3 Multi-Alarm Fires In Less Than 4 Hours!

      Fire Associates Responds for Lunch Service at San Jose Fire
      Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
      Date:  Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, 12:04 P.M.
      Agency:  SJS
      Type:  2-Alarm Structure

      This blaze was a garage fire that quickly spread.  With the collapse of the roof (in a major way) throughout the structure, the IC requested a 2nd Alarm. Fire Associates was called to the scene for lunch service -- Mike Garcia went to Togo's to pick up sandwiches while Bruce Dembecki brought  Fire Support Unit 1 to the scene.
      • More photos by Craig Allyn Rose can be viewed at:  Burgundy Fire
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki
      House Fire Causes 2nd Response of the Day for FASCV  
      Photo By Bruce Dembecki
      Date:  Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, 2:20 P.M.
      Agency:  SJS
      Type:  2-Alarm Structure

      This fire broke out as Fire Associates members were packing up at the Burgundy Drive incident. However, Med30 was stuck -- surrounded by several very large fire apparatus between the rig and getting to the next fire. Plus, one of the pull-out trays on the Med30 rig was stuck in the open position with its materials unloaded while being fixed. It was going to take a few minutes to repack Med30 at the very best.
      So, since the FASCV Support Unit was and mostly packed up and able to get out, Med30 requested we respond from the Burgundy Drive incident to the 9th Street fire.
      This second blaze of the afternoon involved a downtown San Jose Victorian. The fire started on the 2nd floor with flames out the windows on the "Bravo" and "Charlie" sides when the first engine (E8) arrived. When the 2nd-due Engine (E6) came in and took one look, they requested the 2nd alarm. Firefighters struggled to protect the "Bravo" side, but in the end, there was very little damage and the blaze was kept it to 2 alarms.
      FSU-2 provided cold drinks only -- mostly in front of the involved buildings.
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki
      A Large Vegetation Fire Is FASCV's 3rd Response 
      Date:  Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, 3:54 P.M.
      Agency:  SJS
      Type:  Tier 2 + Cal Fire Medium response (including aircraft)
      Location:  1733 Echo Canyon Ct., San Jose
      After finishing with the two earlier fires, FSU-2 went to Station 30 to refill with sup[plies of Gatorade and bottled water. While there, a Tier fire started up in the southeast portion of the city and quickly went to Tier 2 level. Bruce Dembecki quickly finished the resupply and responded from Station 30. However, the rig was totally out of ice. Long-time FASCV member Don Gilbert brought bags of ice to the scene to meet with FSU-2. It should be pointed out that the rig was full of Water/Gatorade. Cases filled the back bed and 20 more cases were in the passenger cab. Since the rig had been totally emptied on the first 2 fires, and there was not much in reserve at the station, Bruce had really loaded up when this call came in.
      The fire started at the base of some hills in a residential area of The Ranch at Silver Creek. At the top of the hill was another residential area and between them was dry grass. Because of wind, the fire spread very quickly. Engine 24 was in its station located only 1/4 mile away and recognized the threat to the homes above the fire and called for a Tier 2 -- specifically for a second Tier to provide structure protection at the top. At the same time, they also called for air support.
      Use of the aircraft quickly was very effective and they were able to stop the fire's spread -- a familiar story. The "black area" was surrounded by "pink". However, this air assault resulted in a few pink cars and homes at the top of the hill -- but a VERY grateful neighborhood. One boy (about the age of 10) came up to the FASCV Support Unit with his Mother and said, “Thank you for saving our Community” -- very sweet.
      Working as a team, FSU-2 was stationed at Division Bravo, in the residential area above the fire while Med30 handled hydration for those at the bottom.
      During the incident, Fire Associates were requested to get meals from a nearby restaurant. FASCV member George Hoyt (whose health has not been great, lately) made the food run - which proved to be very helpful during a busy Rehab operation. By the time food arrived, the top of the fire had been declared “Cold”, so everyone relocated to the bottom and we served dinner to both divisions. Forty Togo's sandwiches were served at lunch with 50 burritos arriving for dinner -- and, not a scrap of food was left! In addition, eight cases Gatorade and 10 cases of water were provided across the first 3 incidents of the day.
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

      Saturday, August 29, 2015

      San Jose Firefighters Respond to 2-Alarm House Fire

      Photo By Bruce Dembecki
      Date:  Aug. 29, 2015
      Type:  2nd Alarm Structure - Voluntary Response
      Agency:  SJS
      Details: Late on the evening of August 29 a "house on fire" report was received by San Jose Fire Department. SJPD was first on scene and reported a well-involved structure, while also pointing out this house was known to PD and there was a fight in progress outside the home.
      First-arriving fire crews reported fire coming out the "Bravo" and "Charlie" sides of the home and went into rescue mode to quickly ensure no-one was still inside the structure. A second alarm was called and units worked to contain the blaze to the house of origin, saving nearby properties -- notably the apartment complex on the "Bravo" side.
      Photo By Bruce Dembecki
      With crews struggling with a heavy interior operation on an unusually humid summer night, Fire Support Unit 2 checked in on air if rehab support was needed and was summoned to the scene. Bruce Dembecki and Mike Garcia worked to provide crews with cold drinks.
      Once the fire was knocked down, a plan we worked out for overhaul and fire watch. With high humidity, the physical demands on the first in crews were so high it was decided to release them and bring in fresh crews for overhaul. Using our supplies on board FSU-2, we refilled all of Med 30’s coolers enabling Med 30 to handle the overhaul operation with the fresh crews, and Fire Support Unit 2 was released by 3:00 A.M.
      -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

      Wednesday, August 26, 2015

      Hit-and-Run Results In Strip Mall Fire

      Photo By Mike Garcia
      Date:  Aug. 26, 2015
      Agency:  Santa Clara Fire
      Incident Address:  2035 White Oak Lane
      Type:  3-Alarm Structure Fire
      Details:  Strip mall. 5 businesses destroyed after hit-and-run into gas meter. FSU-1 arrived at 5:15 P.M. and was released at 9:30 P.M.
      Agency Responders:
         SNC:  B Montano; Engines 94, 95, 96, 97, 99; T92; R92; M91
         CNT:  T71, BC72
         SNY:  E42, E46, BC
      FASCV Responding Unit:  
      FASCV Responders:  
         Mike Garcia (driver) and guests Ken Needham, Jason Black, and Rudy Sanbin
      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Monday, August 24, 2015

      Yet Another Vegetation Blaze Keeps Fire Crews Busy

      Date:  Monday, Aug. 24, 2015
      Agency:  San Jose Fire
      Location:  640 Epic Way, San Jose
      Type: Tier 2 Vegetation Fire
      Details:  Fire primarily involved trees and a small area of grass. FSU-1 arrived at 1:45 P.M. and was released at 4:00 P.M.
      Agency Responders:
         Battalion 1, E19, E2, WT 2, E624, E619
      FASCV Responding Unit:

      FASCV Responder:
         Mike Garcia (driver)

      -- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

      Thursday, August 20, 2015

      Two Blazes Keep Firefighters Busy Along Coyote Creek

      Photo By John Whitaker
      Temperatures may have cooled off a bit in the San Francisco Bay Area, but that only lessens the fire danger slightly. That fact was illustrated shortly before 4:00 P.M. on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 20, when San Jose Fire dispatchers received word of a vegetation fire burning along Coyote Creek off Remillard Ct. With this area very familiar to firefighters, I didn't take long before a Tier 1 response was requested. But, things got a little more complicated.
      When first-arriving fire crews arrived on scene, a second column of smoke was visible to the north of their location. It was quickly determined that there were two fires burning and a second Tier response was initiated. Although dispatched as a second Tier 1 response, the on-scene Battalion Chief asked that the fires be treated as one incident. That meant that there was a Tier 2 compliment of firefighters and equipment on scene. 

      FASCV past-president John Whitaker had been listening to the incident since the first dispatch went out on the PulsePoint app. Realizing that two Tier 1 dispatches would not result in an automatic request for Fire Associates' assistance (FASCV is automatic on all Tier 2 fires in San Jose), John contacted SJFD Dispatch by phone and asked if the IC would like a response from the organization, and if so, at which fire location. The reply was "Yes", with rehab to be set up at the northern-most of the two fires at the southern end Woodborogh Dr., near Selma Olinder Park.

      After being alerted by a phone call from John, Don Gilbert responded with Fire Support Unit 2 and was met on scene by John Whitaker and aided by FASCV guest Ken Needham. As with most vegetation fires, crews were very spread out around the fire ground. So, FSU-2 was instructed to go down a dirt path and set up with crews under the Interstate 280 overpass. Battalion 1 and Battalion 2 chiefs then took a supply of cold water and Gatorade out to the other crews.
      -- Report submitted by John Whitaker

      Monday, August 17, 2015

      Two Homes Burn In Area West of Gilroy

      Photo Courtesy of the Gilroy Fire Dept.
      Mid-afternoon on a summer's day is not the ideal time to be fighting a fire. But, shortly after noon on Monday, August 17, firefighters had to deal with a multi-alarm fire west of Gilroy. Located at 7945 Whitehurst Rd., near Hwy. 152, two homes were eventually involved and fire  units from South County Fire District, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Spring Valley, San Jose, and Cal Fire worked the incident.
      Cal Fire Engine 69 was first to arrive and reported a working house fire with possible threat to the nearby wild land. This prompted Cal Fire's Morgan Hill Emergency Communications Center to dispatch a full wild land response to the area. Upon arrival, Gilroy Battalion Chief 47 recognized that there was no wild land threat and canceled the wild land response.
      Shortly thereafter, an explosion occurred in the attached garage which caused the fire to spread to a nearby house. That prompted B47 to immediately call for additional engines and water tenders.
      The combined units responding included:
      Gilroy Fire:
         B47, E47, T47, E48, E49
      South Santa Clara County Fire District:
         E67, WT67, E68, WT68, E69, BS768
      Morgan Hill Fire:
      Cal Fire SCU:
         DC1601, U1630, E1681, E1684, PRV, WILD, CO70
      Cal Fire BEU:
         D4645, E4675, E4677, E4699
      Cal Fire CZU:
         D1743, E1761, E1782, BNL1, BNL3, PRV, WILD
      Cal Fire Air Attack:
         AA460, T80, C406
      Spring Valley Volunteers:
         C901, WT901
      San Jose Fire: (Provided Station Coverage)
         E18, WT18
      Due to the location of the fire scene, no hydrants were available. So, additional water tenders were requested. Additionally, Fire Associates, Red Cross, an air unit, a Cal Fire hydration unit, and other Battalion Chiefs were requested.
      Access to the fire scene was hampered by a narrow road running down a steep hill from Highway 152. This quickly became congested with engines, water tenders, and hose lines with only a narrow passage allowing access the scene.
      FASCV responded Fire Support Unit 2 (1:18 PM) with Don Gilbert (driver) and John Whiteside (passenger). However, FASCV member Bill Roth was first to arrive from his San Martin home with three cases of water. This quick response was much appreciated by firefighters due to a shortage of hydration. Upon arrival of FSU-2, additional hydration was provided and a Rehab area was established.
      Both involved structures were a total loss with families displaced. As things wound down, FSU-2 departed at approximately 6:00 P.M. 
      •  A KSBW TV8 video news report on the fire can be viewed at:  Whitehurst Blaze
      -- Report submitted by Bill Roth

      Monday, August 10, 2015

      Car Fire Along Hwy. 101 Results in Quick-Moving Grass Fire

      Photo By John Whitaker
      Shortly before 1:30 P.M. on Monday afternoon, August 10, a car pulled over to the right hand shoulder of northbound Hwy. 101 near Metcalf Rd. In and of itself, that would not be a big deal. The problem -- it was on fire!
      With winds gusting in the area, the blaze quickly spread to the adjacent grassland. Calls to the San Jose Fire Department had the blaze burning in a variety of locations, but responding engine crews quickly reported "...a large header rising just south of Hwy. 101 intersection with Hwy. 85." Before a Battalion Chief was even on scene, the responding engine companies recommended a Tier 2 response.
      The Tier 2 also included a "heavy" response from Cal Fire. This meant that not only were many Cal Fire type-3 engines responding, but also included an air tanker, Copter 106, and a dozer. Although the air tanker and dozer were not utilized, Copter 106 made many water drops to aid fire crews on the ground.
      Photo By John Whitaker
      John Whitaker had been listening to the fire on his emergency radio scanner and, as soon as fire crews began arriving, he could tell that this was going to require a Support Unit response. He got on the phone and contacted Don Gilbert to see if he was going to be available when called by SJFD. He said he was and volunteered to bring FSU-2. Shortly after their phone conversation, FASCV pagers "announced" the need for a support unit.
      John Whitaker went in his personal vehicle to the staging area on Metcalf Rd. over Hwy. 101. Not wanting to get in the way of firefighting efforts, and because of some blowing smoke, John remained there until Don arrived with FSU-2. By that time, things had calmed down a little bit and John joined Don as they drove up to the Incident Command center near the intersection of Metcalf Rd. and Malech Rd. Because crews were spread out all along the shoulder of the freeway, and up into the large, grassy area, FSU-2 remained on Metcalf Rd. and waited for crews to come and get re-hydrated. After a while, FASCV member George Hoyt arrived on scene along with FASCV guest Ken Needham.
      With the area mostly covered by short, dry grass, and a few trees and bushes, crews made short work of the mop-up effort. Most firefighters on scene came through the Rehab area to get re-hydrated before returning to their stations. FSU-2 was released at approximately 3:45 P.M.
      -- Report submitted by John Whitaker

      Friday, August 7, 2015

      Two Fires Along Coyote Creek Keep San Jose Firefighters Busy

      Friday, August 7, was a busy day for the San Jose Fire Department. 
      At 1:25 P.M. in the afternoon, fire crews responded to a Tier fire burning in vegetation along Coyote Creek. Located near the address of 697 Needles Dr., this area along the west side of the creek is very familiar to firefighters. With the creek bed overgrown with dense vegetation and littered with dead or dying trees, a Tier 2 level fire was declared, mostly as a precaution in case things got out of hand.
      Of course, that Tier 2 designation also brought a fire support unit. Don Gilbert went to SJFD Station 6 to get Fire Support Unit 2 while John Whitaker and Mike Garcia headed directly to the incident. But, shortly after John arrived, he made contact with the IC -- who quickly cancelled the FSU's response. Fire crews had made quick work of the blaze and were already in an anticipated short-duration mop-up phase. As luck would have it, Don had also just arrived at the fire with the Support Unit -- and he turned around and headed back to the station.
      However, that was not the end to everyone's day. 
      Photo By John Whitaker
      At 3:59 P.M. the same day, everyone returned to Coyote Creek for another, unrelated, fire. This time, the fire was burning on the east side of the creek along Roberts Ave. -- and, it turned out to be a much larger blaze. Many of the same SJFD fire companies were called to this Tier 2 fire -- along with Fire Support Unit 2. 
      John Whitaker responded by bringing FSU-2 and Rehab was set up alongside Med30 in a parking lot along the creek. Cold beverages were in high demand as already-tired firefighters were working their second vegetation fire of the afternoon in 80-degree weather. The blaze was estimated to be approximately 5 acres in size and burned along the creek bed and up the bank into some short grass.
      Crews worked hard to control the blaze, but their work was not over. A very large cottonwood tree proved to be a worthy opponent for the firefighters. It was already dying and the 5-ft.-diameter, hollow trunk was burning from the inside out. A professional tree company was called to the scene by San Jose Parks and Recreation personnel and the tree was eventually felled so the interior could be accessed and the fire quenched.
      However, that meant that some San Jose Fire and Parks and Rec. crews had to remain on scene for an extensive time -- long past the dinner hour. This required that John leave the fire to go to a nearby Togo's to pick up 16 sandwiches that had been ordered by the IC. Upon his return, the crews made quick work of the meals and more ice cold beverages were consumed.
      As the sun was setting, firefighters wrapped up the operation and FSU-2 was returned to quarters shortly after 8:30 P.M.
      It had been a long day for everyone!
      -- Report submitted by John Whitaker

      Saturday, August 1, 2015

      Large Home Burns In San Jose's East Foothills

      Photo By John Whitaker
      On Saturday morning, August 1 at 3:09 A.M., the San Jose Fire Department received a call that a house was burning in the East Foothills of the city. The address given was 3898 Vista Point Ct. But, don't look for it on any maps. It's not there! 
      Due to a nearby, under-construction housing development, the residence had recently received a new driveway and a new street address. The house address had been 3811 Quimby Rd. with an access driveway off that road. But, now, access was up Vista Point Ct. -- through the new housing development. For that reason, fire crews had great difficulty initially finding access to the burning house.
      Once on scene, firefighters had to lay almost 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply line as the nearest hydrant was at the bottom of the steep street and long driveway. This long lay required relay pumping by the first-arriving engine companies. Because the entire 3rd floor was ablaze and the difficult access, a second and third alarm were eventually called to the scene.
      Shortly after the second alarm, the IC special-called for Fire Associates assistance with Rehab. Med30 was on scene, but Barry Ehlers reported that he eventually ran out of all the drinking water and Gatorade he had on his rig. Even though it was the early hours of the morning, firefighters were hot and exhausted because of the shear size of the fire fighting effort. The house was approximately 7,000 sq. ft. in size with many 20-ft. ceilings and was laid out with a myriad of rooms, stairways, and hallways.
      Photo By John Whitaker
      Bruce Dembecki went to get Fire Support Unit 2 while FASCV member John Whitaker responded to the 4:45 A.M. call by going directly to the scene. Because of the crowded conditions on the property surrounding the residence, John parked his private vehicle at the bottom of the hill and hoofed his way up to the fire. After scouting the area and making contact with SJFD's Med30, a location to park the Support Unit was determined and Bruce was able to set up as soon as he arrived.
      However, the parked FSU-2 was still significantly below the actual scene of the fire. This required many trips by John and Bruce back-and-forth to the Rehab location with coolers, cases of Gatorade and water, benches, a serving table, and (oh, I forgot to mention) -- Donuts! With approximately 60 firefighters on scene, Rehab was a popular place. Once the blaze was under control and crews were being released, Rehab was broken down and FASCV members were released at approximately 8:30 A.M.
      -- Report submitted by John Whitaker