Friday, July 31, 2015

San Jose Firefighters Respond to Vegetation Fire at Quimby and Capital Expy.

Photo by John Whitaker
On the afternoon of July 31, for the third or fourth time this summer, San Jose firefighters received a call for a vegetation fire burning in a large field located near the intersection of Quimby Rd. and Capital Expressway. This time, the fire began in the southwest corner of the property and burned to the east through grass and some dense vegetation. 
With flames reaching up as high as a reported 20 feet, the IC didn't wait too long before calling for a Tier 2 response. Along with several more engine companies and their brush patrol engines, a Tier 2 dispatch also brings a support unit from Fire Associates. Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2 while John Whitaker, who lives not too far away, responded directly to the scene. John was able to make contact with Battalion 2 at a location behind Leyva Intermediate School and, together, they determined that FSU-2 should respond to that location. However, while that was happening, San Jose's Med30 had totally run out of drinking water and Gatorade. So, when FSU-2 arrived on scene, Bruce and John were directed into the field to deliver beverages to hot and tired crews who were dealing with numerous "smokers" during overhaul.
Photo by John Whitaker
During this time, it was determined that the overhaul operation was going to extend beyond the dinner hour. Togo's sandwiches were ordered up and John left the area in his personal vehicle to go get the food. A Rehab area was set up in Meadowfair Park located to the rear of Leyva School, and crews were able to enjoy their dinner while sitting down a park picnic tables. All that was missing were the red-checkered table cloths!
Crews that remained on scene were not only "treated" to dinner, but everyone enjoyed an absolutely beautiful sunset.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mountain View Firefighters Respond to Major Structure Fire

Date and Time: 07-30-2015, 6:01 P.M.
Agency: Mountain View Fire
Incident Address: 316 Escuela Ave., Mountain View
Type: Second Alarm
Photo from Mt. View Fire Dept.
Details (from the official FD press release): Thursday evening at approximately 6:01 P.M., Mountain View firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 316 Escuela Ave. The building is a multi-unit apartment complex and residents reported flames coming from a unit in the front of the back building. Upon their arrival, firefighters found flames and heavy smoke coming from multiple units on the second and third stories. Firefighters and police officers worked to ensure that the residents were out of the complex and then firefighters worked to control and extinguish the fire.

A 2nd alarm was called bringing in additional units from surrounding cities to assist with the operation. Damage to some units was extensive, with other units being affected by smoke or water damage. Altogether, residents in 29 apartment units were displaced from their homes last night. The Mountain View Senior Center was opened as a shelter while residents waited for firefighters to complete their operations and determine who was allowed back into their units. Those that were not able to return home were offered overnight shelter assistance by the American Red Cross at the Senior Center.
During the incident, one resident was treated on scene for minor injuries and one resident was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. There were no injuries to firefighters responding to the incident. The fire investigator is on scene working to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
Fire Attack was Engine 53 with water supply from an on-site hydrant, with immediate support from Engine 51. No aerial equipment entered the complex because of constricted access. Good stop was made under difficult interior conditions.
Fire Support Unit 1 arrived at about 6:55 P.M. and was released from the scene at 9:45 P.M.
Agency Responders:
MTV: E-51, 52, 53, 54; T-51; R-51; Batt. 51 (B/C Vandenberg-IC)
CNT: E-74; T-74; Batt-74
PAF: E-65; T-66; Batt-66
XSC: M-45
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1.
FASCV Responders: Carr, Dembecki, Garcia (driver), Haag.
-- Report Submitted by Jerry Haag

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Support Unit 1 Responds to Santa Clara Structure Fire

Date: 7-29-15 @ 1508 Hrs
Agency: SNC
Location: 871 Keith Ln (corrected address)
Type: 1st alarm - voluntary response (high temperature: 90+)
Details: When the "Working Fire" page was received from SNC dispatch, I immediately called and told the answering dispatcher that I would be responding with FSU-1 due to the high temperature, which was followed by an enthusiastic "THANK YOU".  Single-story, single-family dwelling, garage fully involved upon arrival of 1st-due Eng. 96.  Appeared that a good stop was made, after the attic was ventilated, thereby holding fire from most of the living area.  For sure there was smoke and water damage in the living area.
Responding Support Unit: FSU-1
Responding FASCV Members :  Bob Gundrum (driver)
-- Report submitted By Bob Gundrum

Saturday, July 18, 2015

As With Many Things -- It's Location, Location, Location!

With California suffering the worst drought anyone can remember, everyone is forced to make changes in how they do things. For example, we like to keep our rigs clean. But the image of one of our rigs on the apron of a fire station being washed seems like it would cause problems for our fire department hosts. As a result, we took Fire Support Unit 2 out today to find a hand wash facility that recycles their water…
So, on July 18, while out and about working on our rig, a call came across the radio for a house on fire at 1896 Biscayne Way in San Jose. Having just been washed, and only being two freeway exits away, Fire Support Unit 2 attached to the incident, arriving shortly after the first-in Engine 16. The single-story home was burning inside and out!
Police officers who first came across the burning home rushed in to find the residents thoroughly engrossed in a televised sports event and completely unaware that the structure was on fire. Fortunately, the police officers were able to affect a rescue and evacuate the home.
Engine 16 got a quick knock down on the fire, and FASCV member Bruce Dembecki set up a hydration station outside the residence. While a Full First Alarm fire is somewhat smaller than most incidents Fire Associates responds to, the cold drinks were well appreciated on a warm summer afternoon.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coyote Creek at Tuers Road...Again

Photo by John Whiteside
Friday, July 10, at 5:12 P.M., San Jose dispatched a Tier 2 alarm to Capitol Expressway at Tuers Road. A brush fire was reported to be burning along the west side of the creek and atop an old landfill, on the south side of Capitol Expy. This created a rush-hour traffic jam with the expressway’s third lane being closed off for fire equipment staging.
John Whiteside was returning home to San Jose from Morgan Hill Cal Fire VIP duty when the page was received. Being the only south area driver available, he responded to pick up Fire Support Unit 3 at Station 35. He arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 P.M. and set up benches, cold drinks, and Clif bars. On-scene guests, Nick Arnett and Ken Needham, went to pickup 40 Togo meals at the request of the Incident Commander. Fire Associates doesn't usually use the help of guests on the fireground to this extent, but since the request would have necessitated John taking FSU-3 away from Rehab to make the pick-up, in this case it was good to have a couple of guests available. The food was welcomed by the tired crews.
Several burning trees were considered a danger to personnel and had to be cut down. Cal Fire Engine 1673 was dispatched to handle this job -- especially to fall a very large, tall tree that was ablaze top to bottom. By 9:30 P.M., except for a couple of San Jose engine companies, all units had been released from the scene.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside 

    Saturday, July 4, 2015

    4th of July Challenge for San Jose Firefighters

    What do you get when you combine illegal fireworks in the neighborhood with someone who chronically keeps too much stuff…?
    In this case, the fire was started by someone’s use of illegal fireworks, but made far more challenging by the amount of belongings the resident had in and around the home. By the time firefighters arrived on scene, the house had heavy flames shooting out of the "Charlie" and "Delta" sides and was spreading into the attic -- while also threatening neighboring exposures.
    The first units on the scene, near the intersection of Yerba Buena Rd. and Brock Way, immediately called for a second alarm. Dispatchers were working hard to cover the multiple incidents taking place at that time -- 9:45 P.M. on July 4th. With a 5-in. supply line crossing Yerba Buena Rd., there were significant problems with motorists continuing on their way -- right over the 5-in. line. The dangerous situation resulted in a request for Code 3 SJPD assistance.
    Bruce Dembecki in Fire Support Unit 2 responded to the scene at 10:00 P.M. and spent the first 20 minutes turning traffic around on Yerba Buena Rd. until PD units could establish a more-effective traffic plan. At that time, Med 30 requested Fire Associates establish Rehab for firefighters working to gain access to the congested interior of the house so they could control the blaze.
    Rehab was popular on a warm summer evening with Gatorade and water literally flying off the shelves.
    The blaze was contained and damage to the exposures was minimized. Eventually, fire crews were released to assist in other parts of the City on a busy July 4th night. Fire Support Unit 2 went back in service at midnight.
    -- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

    Friday, July 3, 2015

    Remotly Operated Drone Impact Ignites Vegetation Fire

    Date: July 4, 2015, 13:08
    Agencies responding:  Palo Alto, Woodside, and CalFire
    Location:  1135 Campus Dr. East - Lake Lagunita - dry lake bed.
    Alarm Level:  First + (Voluntary FASCV Response)
    Details:  Lake Lagunita was drained many years ago (believe before I retired) after a male drowned in the lake.  A member of the Stanford community was flying a battery-operated drone over the lake and it developed problems and had a sudden impact with the dry, grass-covered, dry lake bed.  I talked to the "pilot" who indicated that if the batteries are damaged, there is a possibility for combustion. Oh Yes!!!!!  The dry lake is within 100 yards of the Foothill Expressway with "Dish Hill" beyond that, with dry tall grass.  Fire Support Unit 1 was out en route at 13:08 and back in the Station by 17:00.
    Responding Support Unit: FSU-1
    Responding FASCV Members:  Gundrum (driver)
    -- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Auto Accident with Fire Spreading to Vegetation

    Date:  July 1, 2015
    Agency:  CNT - Santa Clara County Fire
    Type:  2nd Alarm Vegetation Fire
    Location:  15451 Bohlman Rd., Saratoga
    Details:  Auto accident with fire spreading into vegetation.
    Responding Support Unit:  FSU-1 (Garcia, driver)
    Responding FASCV Members:  Jerry Haag and Ken Needham (guest)
    -- Report submitted by Jerry Haag