Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fire Support Unit 1 Responds to Mountain View Blaze

Photo By Mike Garcia
Date and Time: April 23, 2015, 3:03 A.M.
Agency: Mountain View Fire
Incident Address: 728 Lola Lane, Mountain View
Type: Full First Alarm
Small, single-story, single-family frame dwelling. Fire was showing at the back of the building upon arrival of first-due Engine 52. Initial size-up revealed fire in the back room of the house already vented and involving a large eucalyptus tree. Engine 52 made an attack with a 1-3/4-inch line and Engine 51, which arrived second-due, stretched a large-diameter supply line to Engine 52 from a hydrant about 150’ away, then took another line off Engine 52. Ultimately, Engine 52 pumped four lines. Initial attack was offensive and took into account the report of an occupant in the building. Once the victim was found to be expired, the attack shifted to defensive. Exploding ammunition and a report of gun powder in the building made things even more exciting for a while. Jerry Haag was monitoring the initial radio report and got up and went to the scene with bottled water in his POV anticipating that the hard-working crews would need at least that much Rehab. Once arrived, he consulted with the IC about the need for more extensive rehab. The Chief agreed and Jerry phoned Mike Garcia with a request that he roll Unit 1. Unit 1 arrived in about 30 minutes and Dan Wong later arrived with donuts, which got a good reception from the firefighters and a chuckle from Deputy Chief Juan Diaz. Unit 1 was released from the scene at 0600 hours.
Agency Responders:
MTV: E-51, 52, 53, 54; T-51; R-51; Batt-51 (Custodio-IC); 18A3
PAF: T-66; Batt-66 
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1.
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver), Jerry Haag, and Dan Wong.
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saratoga Building Rendered Uninhabitable After 3-Alarm Blaze

Photo by Bruce Dembecki
Date and Time:  April 19, 2015, 1016 hours
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Incident Address: 20810 4th St., Saratoga
Type: Three Alarms
Details: Two-story, four-unit residential building in a fairly large complex. Restricted access, and proximity of nearby exposed building and trees presented a challenge to arriving units. E-73 was first–in. E-78 laid a long 5-in. water supply line to E-73 and took off the second attack line while T-71 opened the roof. E-73 ended up serving one 2-1/2-in. and two 1-3/4-in. lines.  The fire, which originated in a second-floor unit, ultimately involved the roof space. Building will not be habitable for quite some time. There was no damage to exposures or trees.
Agency Responders:
SNC: E-71, 72, 73, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82; T-71, 74, 85; R-73, 83; HM-72; Batts-72, 73, 83 (Falarski-IC)
SJS: T-14 (cancelled en route)
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1. Arrived: 1100; Released 1300.
FASCV Responders: Bruce Dembecki, Mike Garcia (driver), Jerry Haag, Dan  Wong, and Quinn Dembecki (guest).

-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fire Associates Called for Service 3 Times in 24 Hours

Most people know that California is experiencing a near-record drought. But what you may not know is that Fire Associates is also going through its own drought -- all-be-it of a different kind.
Through the end of March, Fire Associates has only responded to 8 calls for service -- compared to 31 calls for service at this time last year!
Well, FASCV's "dry spell" was broken during the 24 hours of April 15-16.
Photo By John Whitaker
On Wednesday, April 15, the San Jose Fire Department responded to a vegetation fire at 2039 Flintcrest Dr. on the City's east side.The original call came in from the San Jose Police Department's "Air 2" helicopter. During routine patrol, they spotted bushes burning to the south of Flintcrest Drive.
Within minutes of the initial report, the fire spread to an adjacent fence and the roof of a house on Flintcrest Dr. Not helping matters -- the house had a wood shake roof! From there, the fire spread along the fence line to another house where the fence fire caught a backyard shed on fire.
It did not take long for a full-first alarm to be called. With Air 2 providing continual updates of hot spots, firefighters were to work attacking both the vegetation fire and the structure fire. The vegetation was part of what had once been Mt. Pleasant Golf Course. The golf course had long since been abandoned with the vegetation overgrowth being somewhat controlled by a herd of grazing cows.
On a warm Spring afternoon, it wasn't too long before a 2nd and a 3rd alarm were called. With the 3rd alarm, FASCV members were summoned for Rehab assistance. John Whiteside responded to the call with Fire Support Unit 3. While he was getting the rig ready to roll, John Whitaker went directly to the scene to scout out a location for Rehab. Once FSU-3 was on scene, a formal Rehab was set up in the driveway of a nearby home. By this time, FASCV guest Ken Needham had arrived along with FASCV member Mike Garcia.
With the meal hour approaching, and the necessity of a lot of overhaul, John Whitaker coordinated with the IC to get meals ordered. Thirty sandwiches were prepared by Togo's and John went to get them in his personal vehicle, with Ken's help.
So, while FSU-3 was set up on Flintcrest Drive, a second call was heard on the emergency radio. A house was reported to be burning near the intersection of McLaughlin Ave. and Interstate 280. Very shortly thereafter, FASCV pagers were activated with a call for assistance. First-arriving firefighters found that a gas explosion had apparently occurred and an interior search resulted in the discovery of an occupant fatality. The location of the incident was 919 Jeanne Ave. in San Jose.
While FASCV members started to quickly dismantle the Rehab at the Flintcrest Dr. incident, John Whitaker contacted San Jose Fire Dispatch to get the details of the request for FASCV help. Once the IC was contacted, it was determined that the page to FASCV was premature and FASCV help was not going to be needed on Jeanne Ave.
With that news, members continued to shut down Rehab on Flintcrest and FSU-3 returned to service at approximately 7:00 P.M.
Photo By John Whitaker
As a mid-Spring, Thursday morning was getting off to a start, the San Jose Fire Department received a call for a kitchen fire at a coffee shop on Capital Expressway. This long-established structure is well-known to residents of San Jose who commute to work on the expressway. Originally called "Cindy's", the blaze was located at 222 W. Capital Expressway at what is now known as "Jimmy's Restaurant".
Once the full-first, structure alarm was called, responding firefighters reported seeing a "large header" coming from that direction while en route. Smoke was billowing out of the roof upon arrival and firefighters began an interior attack. It was originally thought to be a kitchen fire, but firefighters found little fire in the kitchen area. They then began pulling the ceiling to see if there was an attic fire only to find no flames of any significance in that space, either. Some time during this operation, a second alarm was called by the IC.
It was eventually determined that the fire was primarily located in the kitchen flue and had spread to the roof facade that surrounded the air conditioning units. With the roof being comprised of heavy Spanish tiles, there was fear of a collapse into the restaurant. Fire crews were ordered out of the structure and a defensive operation was begun.
At that time, a third alarm was struck for additional crews. John Whitaker, who was already en route to a meeting at the San Jose Fire Museum, responded to Station 6 only to find FSU-2 out of service. A quick phone call to John Whiteside was made, and he responded to Station 35 to bring FSU-3. Meanwhile, John Whitaker went to the fire and found new FASCV member Bill Roth already on scene. Eventually, members Len Williams and Mike Garcia also arrived to provide support. An informal rehab area was established and the firefighters were grateful for lots of cold drinks on an already warm day.
Here's a funny story: As things were winding down, John Whiteside was talking with BC-2 Patricia Tapia. She was describing the sequence of events as firefighters were trying to find the seat of the blaze. She said that crews entered the kitchen looking for flames and all they found was a pan piled high with breakfast meat. To which John Whiteside replied, "So, you can say that firefighters saved their bacon!" I wish I had thought of that...

 -- All reports submitted by John Whitaker