Friday, December 30, 2016

2-alarm House Fire In Palo Alto

Date: Dec. 30, 2016
Agency: Palo Alto Fire
Incident Address: 2126 Louis Ave
Type: 2-alarm House fire 

Single-story, older Eichler-style home. Fully involved upon arrival. Initially unable to confirm if all occupants were out, only one occupant made it out with no injuries. Heavy B side exposure with two cars involved in the attached carport. 2nd alarm called and firefighters initiated a new “nozzle forward” mode of attack. 4 pots of coffee, snacks were served.
Agency Responders: 

FASCV Arrived: 0530 Released: 0800
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1
FASCV Responders:
Mike Garcia (driver), Walter Huber, Larry Carr
Reported by Walter Huber

Thursday, November 17, 2016

FASCV Provides Support At Sunnyvale Apartment Blaze

Date: Nov. 17, 2016
Agency: Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety
Incident Address: 516 N Mathilda Ave.
Arrived: 0010; Released 0200
Type: 2nd Alarm
Small 2-Story complex with fully involved first/floor apartment unit.
Agency Responders: Sunnyvale
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1

FASCV Responders: Larry Carr, Mike Garcia, and Walter Huber (driver)
-- Report submitted by Walter Huber

Monday, November 14, 2016

FASCV Provides Rehab Support at Gas Leak

On Friday, Nov. 14, at approximately noon in the area of Park and Sunol in San Jose FASCV received a Special Call for a major natural gas problem.
FSU 1 driven by Walter Huber and FSU 2 Driven by Don Gilbert responded. FASCV provided meal pickup and rehab for about 5.5 hours.
A contractor's backhoe ruptured a 6” high-pressure natural gas line while at the same time the backhoe also ruptured a sewer line. This caused the underground sewer line system to become charged with natural gas over a large geographical area.  This required the evacuation and sealing off of a large area covering several city blocks.
Once the natural gas was shutdown, it took a period of time to purge the gas from the sewer system and allow for a size reduction of the evacuation zone. When PG&E started to make repairs to the 6” pipe, a 4” gas pipe was located that had to be neutralized before the 6” repairs could be started.
-- Report submitted by Don Gilbert through Bob Gundrum

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FASCV Members Respond to 3-Alarm House Fire

San Jose Fire responded to a 3rd alarm blaze at 3253 Ensalmo Avenue, cross of Hillsdale Avenue. FSU-3 responded for Fire Associates with Don Gilbert, John Whiteside, Teri Costentino, and Walter Huber providing support.

The blaze gutted a single-family house with some damage to houses on both sides.
-- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fire Associates Supports Fire Academy

Date: Oct. 12, 2016
Agency: Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety 
Incident Address: 795 E Arques Ave.
Arrived: 0830; Released 1500
Type: Special Call
FSU-1 provided support for JFA 16-2 Fire Academy

Agency Responders: Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Boulder Creek, Scotts Valley

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1

FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia, Bob Gundrum, Walter Huber (driver), and Dan Wong
-- Report submitted by Walter Huber

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Campbell RV Fire Goes to Two Alarms

On October 8, Santa Clara County Fire answered a 2nd alarm at ‪202 W. Rincon Ave‬, cross of Salice Way, in Campbell.
FSU-3 with Don Gilbert and John Whiteside, were cancelled by radio upon departure from SJS Station 6. The call was for a ully involved RV in the yard of a house.
-- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Friday, September 30, 2016

Late September House Fire Taxes Crews in the South County

Friday, September 30 at 4:54 A.M., Morgan Hill CalFire received reports of a house fire in the hills west of town. This was located in the South Santa Clara Fire District, at 2880 Tohara Way. This is in the area off of Sycamore Drive, west of Watsonville Highway. 
The woodlands are tinder dry, and the fire danger is HIGH! Consequently a high initial dispatch of 18 engines, 9 being wildland engines, 4 water tenders, 2 hand crews and 4 Chiefs was made. Fire units from San Jose, Gilroy and Morgan Hill City were also part of the dispatch.
The single-story house was located near the deadend of Tohara Way, with no nearby hydrants. Water was trucked in to the scene. At 6:17 A.M. Fire Associates was paged to respond with a Fire Support Unit and John Whiteside took FSU-3 about 30 miles to the scene. Benches, donuts, hot coffee, water, Gatorade, and Clif Bars were provided the remaining crews. John was released around 9:00 A.M. The house was gutted.
Several of the responding wildland rigs from other CalFire units were covering vacant stations around Morgan Hill. A 4,300+ acre vegetation fire has been burning since September 26 in steep inaccessible terrain about 10 miles northwest of this house. A large base camp had been set up in nearby Gilroy, about 10 miles south, and some 2,000 personnel are involved. The morning of this fire, there were 179 engines, 34 water tenders, 32 dozers, 61 hand crews, and 22 helicopters and air tankers assigned to the “Loma” vegetation fire.
— Report submitted by John Whiteside

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fire Associates Supports South County House Fire

Thursday night, Sept. 8, at 11:50 P.M., Morgan Hill Cal Fire, which also staffs the Morgan Hill City Fire Dept and the South Santa Clara County Fire District, dispatched units to a house fire at 14840 Columbet Avenue in San Martin, cross street of East Middle Avenue, in the fire district. Arriving units reported fire from the rear of the structure, 50% involved. All occupants were out, but the structure was the home of an organization that shelters rescued dogs. Almost a dozen dogs were lost, but 4 were saved with resuscitation.
Fire units from the District, Cal Fire, Morgan Hill City, and Gilroy responded to the scene while San Jose provided 2 engines to cover open stations. Eight (8) engines, 2 water tenders, 1 ladder truck and 2 Battalion Chiefs were involved in the fire attack.
At 12:25 A.M. Friday morning Fire Associates was paged for support. John Whiteside and new member Walter Huber met at San Jose Station 35 to take Fire Support Unit #3, while Bill Roth went to the scene. Lighting, bench seating, water, Clif bars, Gatorade, donuts, and coffee were provided and much appreciated by the fire fighters.

FSU-3 was released at 04:03 A.M.

— Report submitted by John Whiteside

Saturday, August 27, 2016

4-Alarm Blaze Destroys San Jose Storage Units

On Saturday, August 27, at a few minutes past 9:00 P.M., San Jose Fire received calls for smoke coming from a unit in a very large complex of Public Storage buildings. The location was 925 Felipe Avenue at the dead end off Olinder Court and Story Road. This location is almost underneath the bridges at the junction of Highway 101 and Interstates 280/680.
San Jose dispatched a full first alarm at 9:06 P.M., and initial attacking units reported a car fire within a unit in the middle of a large, L-shaped building.
The fire soon spread to adjacent units and a second alarm was requested. Master streams were soon put into service and a third alarm was requested. At 10:31 P.M. Fire Associates was paged and Don Gilbert and John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 2. They were met on-scene by Mike Garcia. While FSU-2 was enroute, the fire escalated to a fourth alarm with a Mutual Aid structure response from Santa Clara County, Milpitas, and Santa Clara City fire departments.
However, the en route fourth alarm rigs were cancelled when the smoke coming from the other leg of the L-shaped building was found to be only drift smoke from the main fire. A great effort contained the fire damage to several units centered on the initial fire site.
Donuts, water, Gatorade, Clif bars and coffee, along with bench seating were very much appreciated by the exhausted fire fighters. FSU-2 was released at 3:05 A.M. and returned to quarters. A few fire crews remained on scene through the next day to completely extinguish the fire.
-- Report. Submitted by John Whitesite

Friday, August 12, 2016

FASCV Called to Vegetation Fire Near Uvas Dam

On Friday, August 12, CAL FIRE Morgan Hill received many, many calls reporting a fire west of Morgan Hill in the area of the Uvas Reservoir. Smoke could be seen from CAL FIRE Headquarters.
At 3:12 P.M., a high-level dispatch was initiated and ultimately included over 30 engines, 3 dozers, 4 hand crews, 3 air tankers, 2 copters, and an air attack coordinator. Fire Associates was also requested for Rehab. Other fire agencies included: San Jose, Santa Clara County, Felton, and Monterey CAL FIRE who all sent equipment.
Due to the steep terrain, air tankers were used to slow the spread of the fire by surrounding it with retardant and protect houses threatened by the blaze until ground crews could access the location.
Fire Associates member John Whiteside, on CAL FIRE Volunteer in Prevention (VIP) duty in the Emergency Command Center, put on his FASCV cap and responded in his POV with drinks and ice while Don Gilbert was preparing Fire Support Unit 2 in San Jose to respond to the support request. Rehab was set up in a vacant lot near Fell Court and Uvas Road. FA was released at 8:50 P.M. The fire was contained at 15 acres.
-- Report Submitted by John Whiteside

Sunday, August 7, 2016

FASCV Responds to South County Fire

SCC (South Santa Clara County Fire District) residential fire, 14119 Murphy Avenue - north of San Martin Avenue.  FSU-3 with John Whiteside and Bill Roth.

Approx. 24 engines/water tenders/truck plus dozer and Copter 106 on scene. Burned cars, greenhouses, barn, several residences, and spreading into the grass requiring structure protection on the property of a wholesale nursery. A large natural gas line was afire and venting, requiring PG&E to dig and pinch-off the line to extinguish the last of the fire. FASCV released at 2350.

Because of the Hwy 101 repaving (I had forgotten about) it took almost 1 hour coming home at midnight to go from Cochran to Bailey. ALL 3 lanes were creeping along, backed up to Cochran, and forming a single lane south of Bailey.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Monday, June 27, 2016

Yet Another Vegetation Fire Brings A Fire Associates Response

Shortly before 3:00 P.M. on Monday, June 27, County Fire received reports of a car fire on Hwy. 17 near Redwood Estates in the mountains above Los Gatos. Shortly after the initial report, there were additional reports from more callers and then from the CHP of the fire spreading to the grass — and then the CHP report was, “The whole hill is on fire!” 
Additional resources were dispatched, including a full Cal Fire response, and mutual aid from Santa Cruz County, along with Santa Clara County Fire’s Level 2 brush response.
Upon arrival, Battalion 83 quickly determined there was a major threat to the homes in the area as the fire was spreading quickly in thick Santa Cruz Mountains brush. The IC requested two Type 1 Immediate-Need Strike Teams for structure protection, and Cal Fire upgraded their response, adding more hand crews and air tankers. San Jose Fire filled one of the Type I strike teams with their five closest engines, backfilling their region with resources from around San Jose. The second strike team was made up of units from Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and NASA Ames Fire.
From Los Gatos Boulevard a large header was visible in the Mountains and it was clear that today there was going to be a fire fight.
Don Gilbert and John Whiteside responded to San Jose Fire Station 6 and picked up Fire Support Unit 2. Traveling to the incident was problematic as Highway 17 was closed in both directions and traffic was extremely heavy. Under code 3 escort, the Fire Support rig made it way up Highway 17. Then, leaving the highway, FSU-2 made its way to Redwood Fire Station where they established Rehab.
Back at the fire fight, with aerial attack underway, there were many residences, cars, and fire apparatus covered in pink goo from above. Bulldozers went to work to create a fire break, while hand crews and engine crews were working on cutting lines and doing fire suppression. The fire had worked its way away from the highway and into the hills, but the fire-damaged trees were still threatening to fall across the highway, presenting yet another problem that would need to be resolved before the highway could be reopened to traffic.
With an incredible response, a large number of resources, and dedicated crews, the fire was contained before it could damage any residences. By around 9:00 P.M., they were able to open one southbound lane on Hwy. 17, with northbound having been opened earlier in the evening. Mop-up operations continued overnight.
The Fire Associates crew at Redwood Fire Station were kept busy in Rehab, with fire crews coming and going throughout the evening. Along with all the municipal and state crews, 5 inmate hand crews came through Rehab. 200 burritos were obtained and served for dinner, until there were no more. Fire Support Unit 2 was released around midnight and was back in quarters around 12:30 A.M.

— Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, June 20, 2016

5-Acre Grass Fire Challenges Firefighters in San Jose

Early on the afternoon of Monday, June 20, San Jose Fire dispatched units to a vegetation fire on Quimby Road, at Ranch Road. The location was at the very top of Quimby Road, in the City's eastern foothills.  
Very quickly, based upon the smoke column seen from the valley floor, San Jose units requested a Tier 2 response, which dispatches Fire Associates. John Whiteside met Don Gilbert at Station 6 to take Fire Support Unit #2. They were met on scene by George Hoyt and guest Daniel Capostagno. The fire was determined to be in Cal Fire's response area which resulted in a medium wildland response from that agency.
The fire was burning on a very steep, west-facing hillside used for grazing along the north side of Quimby Rd. The easterly side of the hill drops down into the county’s Grant Ranch Park and Mt. Hamilton Road. A driveway to a farm house at the top of the hill allowed access for units to reach the head of the fire and stop the progress. The fire was contained at 5.2 acres.
Aircraft were not utilized due to power lines crossing the scene. Among the units dispatched by San Jose and Cal Fire were 2 water tenders, 8 engines, 4 brush patrols, and 6 Cal Fire wildland engines, along with 2 dozers, and 2 hand crews. FSU-2 was released at 3:15 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Popular Businesses Lost In 4-Alarm Strip Mall Blaze

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, June 14, San Jose Fire received reports of bushes on fire and flames showing from above the roof of a strip mall at Santa Teresa and Cahallan.
First-arriving units found the flaming trees at the rear of the complex and reported that they were impinging on the structure at the roof line. While setting up to handle the trees first-in units requested next arriving units check the roof of the strip mall.
By the time fire units arrived, the fire was already into the attic. While crews made several attempts to run a strip cut on the roof to isolate the fire from other areas in the building, the fire was moving too quickly through a common attic space. The fire spread rapidly from one end of the building through to the other, destroying all but two businesses in the main building of the mall. The remaining businesses suffered from smoke and water damage.
The Incident went to 4 alarms in less than 20 minutes from the original call. On the 3rd alarm request, Fire Associates was dispatched and John Whiteside headed to Fire Station 35 to pick up Fire Support Unit 3. FASCV President Bruce Dembecki went straight to the scene. There was a good mix of both hot and cold drinks being consumed and both Cliff bars and donuts were popular at 2:00 A.M. Assisted FASCV members on scene by guest, Walter Huber.
The 4th alarm was filled by units from Santa Clara County Fire which allowed the brand new Truck 85 to be put into service for the first time. This turned out to be the first time its master stream had been used on an actual fire.

-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another San Jose Grass Fire Brings a Fire Associates Response

Shortly before sunset on June 12, San Jose Fire received reports of a fire on the hill near the 5300 block of Hellyer Ave. Being in a threat zone, Cal FIre was also notified. After the 5th phone call reporting the fire, Battalion 13 ordered a TIER response while initial units were still en route. 
Upon arrival, it was discovered that the fire had spread to approximately one acre of grassland. However, the grass was dry and there was a breeze pushing the fire. With a rapid rate of spread, Hellyer IC called for a TIER 2 response. Meanwhile, Cal Fire was also sending a medium response. 
On the TIER 2 dispatch, Fire Associates was paged out. John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 while Bruce Dembecki and Bill Roth responded directly to the scene. Also on scene were Fire Associates guests Daniel Capostagno and Walter Huber. 
As the fire grew, and a potential spread of several hundred acres on the hillside, Hellyer IC escalated the incident to a TIER 3.

Fire crews were able to contain the fire at around 12 acres and at about 2 hours into the incident the fire was under control. Citizens in the area reported that a mylar balloon drifted into the high voltage transmission wires overhead, and the flames from that dropped to the grass, causing the ignition.
Once crews were finished on the hillside, they stopped by at Rehab for a cold drink and some food before packing up and returning to service.

— Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

San Jose Grass Fire Consumes Hilltop

On Wednesday, June 8, shortly before sunset, San Jose Fire received reports of a “hill on fire” at Cathedral Oaks Park in San Jose’s Almaden Valley neighborhood. With smoke showing from Station 28, the incident was upgraded to a TIER response.
Once on scene, Engine 28 requested a TIER 2 and set about making access. Access was challenging as the park was surrounded by homes.
The TIER 2 activation triggered a Fire Associates page out and Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki responded with Fire Support Unit 2. John Whiteside responded to the area in FSU-3 and Don Gilbert met the team on scene.
The fire consumed a couple of acres of the mountain top. There were no injuries and all units were released by 10:30 P.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Vegetation Fire Escalates Into 4-Alarm Blaze

On June 1st San Jose firefighters responded to reports of bushes burning on S. White Rd. near Story Rd. While units were responding, additional reports were received indicating the bushes were threatening an auto parts store, and then that the auto parts store was burning.
Upon arrival, units discovered the vegetation had burnt into the eves of the store and was spreading through the attic. A second alarm was called at that time. Additional concerns were raised given the possible hazardous nature of some of the materials stored on the premises, and the incident was declared a Hazmat incident. Within 8 minutes of the first reports, a 3rd alarm was called.
Before the incident was controlled, a fourth alarm would be called. With so many San Jose units on scene, mutual aid was called from nearby departments to provide station coverage.
On the 3rd alarm activation, Fire Associates new dispatching system, IamResponding, was activated directly by the San Jose Fire Dispatch system, notifying our members of the need for support. Don Gilbert responded to Fire Station 6 to pick up Fire Support Unit 2, while Bruce Dembecki responded directly to the scene.
With the 4th alarm activation Fire Associates member John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3. On scene the team was met by Fire Associates member George Hoyt and guest Daniel Capostagno.
With early afternoon temperatures into the 90s around the South Bay, crews were hot and thirsty. The first four cases of water and gatorade put out for firefighters were gone before we could open the cool and put them on ice!
Store employees and customers were evacuated without incident and there were no injuries during the incident. Traffic was significantly impacted as S. White Road was closed for an extended period.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fire Associates Called to 2-Alarm Auto Shop Fire In San Jose

Shortly before 9:00 P.M. on Sunday, May 15, San Jose Fire received reports of a car on fire inside an automotive repair business on Almaden Avenue at Willow Street. The owner of the business, located at 1018 S. Almaden Ave., said they were working on the car and it caught on fire. The fire spread before anyone was able to extinguish it, and a call as made to 911 and the building evacuated.
Responding from Fire Station 26, Engine 26 reported a thick column of black smoke from the area of the fire, and arriving crews reported the building was fully involved when they arrived. A 2nd alarm was struck and crews went into defensive mode, attacking the fire initially with hand lines and the deck gun of an engine, until two truck companies could set up an aerial attack.
There were significant problems with power cables in the area. A large power pole in front of the business carried power transformers and high voltage lines, and that pole developed a significant tilt to it. Also, the building, which was not reinforced, suffered some structural problems in the fire and developed large cracks in the side walls on at least three sides. While PG&E dealt with the power issues, the structure problems caused a 20-foot collapse zone around the entire building. During the night, city engineers red-tagged the structure.
The fire, and resulting structural issues, caused the evacuations of residents from the adjacent apartment building on the "Delta" side. Several hundred PG&E customers were impacted by power outages resulting from the blaze.
Fire Associates was special-called by the IC to the 2-alarm blaze, with members Bruce Dembecki and John Whiteside responding to Fire Station 6 to pick up Fire Support Unit 2 and bring it to the scene. They stopped on the way for a supply of fresh donuts. Bruce and John were met on scene by Fire Associates member Mike Garcia and guest Daniel Capostagno. The team set up Rehab adjacent to the IC.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Santa Clara City Firefighters Respond to 2-Alarm House fire

Date:  Saturday, 14 May 2016 at 11:12 A.M.
Agency:  Santa Clara City Fire
Type:  2-alarm
Location:  3572 Mauricia Ave.

SNC Dispatch advised a working fire at 3572 Mauricia. Single-story, single-family structure. Garage fully involved with fire spreading into attic. 2nd alarm at scene with 3rd alarm mutual aid units for coverage at Station 2 Training Center.

FASCV Unit:  FSU-1
FASCV Responders:  Bruce Dembecki, Mike Garcia, Bob Gundrum (driver), Cliff Smith with wife Shelia, and Dan Wong.

— Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Friday, May 13, 2016

Arriving Mountain View Crews Find Fully-Engulfed Garage

Photo by Bruce Dembecki
On Friday, May 13, at approximately 1:30 P.M., Mountain View firefighters responded to a report of a house with thick black smoke coming from the garage. First-in crews reported a large column visible from the fire station, and upon arrival found a fully involved garage with a major threat to the "Delta" exposure. They immediately called a second alarm. The blaze was burning in a house at 719 Alice Ave., near Moorpark Way and E. Dana. St
A civilian was treated and transported for burn injuries. Additional support came from Sunnyvale DPS and Palo Alto Fire, along with a contingent from County EMS.
With the second alarm request came page out for Fire Associates assistance. Mike Garcia responded in Fire Support Unit 1 and was met on scene by Bruce Dembecki. Rehab was set up outside the "Alpha"-adjacent property and, together with County EMS, Mike and Bruce worked all the crews through a formal Rehab process.
Water and Gatorade were popular, as were the ice-cold water towels for crews to freshen themselves after some very hard work.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Monday, May 2, 2016

Barn and Vegetation Fire Spreads to Mobile Homes

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
Just before 2:00 P.M. on Monday, May 2, the San Jose Fire Department responded to reports of a grass fire on an empty lot off Capitol Ave. near Gimelli Way. Once on scene, firefighters not only found grass on fire, but barn-like structures on the edge of the property were burning, as well. With the heavy fuel load of the barn buildings, the fire grew rapidly and quickly jumped to two mobile homes in the adjacent La Buona Vita mobile home park.
With the fire spreading quickly, the incident was escalated to a second and then 3rd alarm in less than 20 minutes. The 3rd alarm triggered a dispatch to Fire Associates, and members Don Gilbert and John Whiteside went to Fire Station 6 and brought Fire Support Unit 2 to the scene. They were met on scene by John Whitaker and Bruce Dembecki.
Rehab was established and cold drinks were quickly attacked by thirsty crews.  One firefighter suffered minor injuries during the blaze, and two mobile homes were completely destroyed.
The fire was declared under control at 4:20 P.M. and most units were released by 5 o'clock. With high winds continuing, San Jose Fire established a Fire Watch to remain on scene for several additional hours.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sunnyvale Apartment Blaze Goes to Two Alarms

Date: April 28, 2016
Agency:  Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (SNY)
Type:  2nd Alarm
Location:  526 Washington Ave

Two-story apartment house.  Fire started in the garage. Fire Associates arrived at 2:46 P.M. and was released at 6:00 P.M.

Agency Responders:
SNY:  BC (Marshall); Engines 41, 42, 242, 243, 43, 45, 46, and 246; Trucks 41 and T42, with Rescue 41
Station Coverage:
SCFD:  Engine 97 at Station 2
MVFD:  Engine 51 at Station 1
FASCV Responding Unit:  FSU-1
FASCV Responders:  Mike Garcia (driver) and Bob Gundrum

-- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fire at Popular Los Gatos Sports Bar Brings 3-Alarm Response

Photo by Mike Garcia
On Sunday night, April 24, at approximately 11:40 P.M., Santa Clara County Fire (CNT) received reports of a structure fire at 354 N. Santa Cruz Avenue. The location was only a couple of blocks from County Fire's Station 83, “Los Gatos Station”. So close that the crew later stated they could smell smoke as they left the station. 
Upon arrival, they reported flames visible inside structure. The fire was in the attic of "Double D’s Sports Grille", a popular sports bar and restaurant. Within minutes, a full first alarm was filled out and a 2nd alarm was requested by the Incident Commander, bringing additional County fire crews to the scene.
John Whiteside, who was monitoring the radio at home, heard the initial dispatch. He anticipated a Fire Support Unit request and was preparing to respond. At 12:17 A.M., Fire Associates was paged to respond an FSU to the scene, and John responded with Fire Support Unit 3 from San Jose Station 35 -- about 8 miles from the fire. As John was en route, the IC called a 3rd alarm, which brought a mutual aid structure response from San Jose. 
Photo By John Whiteside
Upon arrival, John was met by FASCV member Mike Garcia and guest Walter Huber. After helping set up Rehab next to the on-scene ambulance crew, Mike went to locate and purchase some ever-popular donuts. Portable benches, Gatorade, water, CLIF bars, lighting, and hot coffee in the cool early morning air, were provided.
The extinguishment efforts were difficult as there were 3 different roofs atop the building. The stubborn fire just kept advancing through the attic and small pockets of fire kept appearing when hoses were shut down. The fire was declared under control about 2 hours after first-arrival. Crews remained through the night and into the next day. Fortunately, firefighters managed to save many treasured sports memorabilia items that were on display in the restaurant.
Fire Associates personnel were released at 3:45 A.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Smokey Fire In Gilroy Brings 3-Alarm Response

Photo by Bill Roth
On April 23, at a few minutes past 4:00 P.M., Gilroy Fire dispatched units to a report of a fire in the vicinity of Luchessa Avenue and Rossi Court. Upon arrival, it was determined to be located at METech, 6200 Engle Way. The company is a permitted electronics and e-waste recycling facility for the entire San Francisco Bay area. 
The fire was burning in an outside storage area that contained piles of recycle materials. The heavy black smoke could be seen for miles!
Within a few minutes, the fire response was increased to a 3rd alarm, bringing additional fire units from Hollister, South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara County, plus California Fish and Game for possible contaminated water runoff. On scene there were 11 engines, 3 ladder trucks, 2 breathing support units, 1 hazmat unit, and 4 chiefs. Additional engines back-filled empty stations in Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
Photo Posted by Craig Allyn Rose
Fire Associates was requested and John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 2 for the approximate 30-mile drive. Bill Roth met John on scene and together they set up rehab with benches, tables, water, Gatorade, CLIF bars, scene lighting, and later, coffee. FASCV member George Hoyt also assisted. Gilroy Fire provided 80 sandwiches with chips for the group. FSU-2 was released at 9:45 P.M. -- arriving back in quarters at 10:30 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fire At Sunnyvale Apartments Brings 2-Alarm Response

In the early afternoon on Friday, April 15, a fire was reported in a Sunnyvale apartment complex. The complex was of late 50’s, early 60’s construction, 2-stories in height, with apartment unit access via interior hallways. Located at 1066 Sunnyvale Saratoga Rd., the structure was laid out around a center courtyard surrounded on 3 sides by apartments.
Heavy smoke conditions greeted firefighters upon arrival with major evacuation concerns. An Ambulance Task Force was dispatched due to the number of civilians being evacuated and unknown possible injuries.

12:56 Hrs. – Initial Alarm:
Engines 41, 42, 43, and 243.
Rescue 41.
Truck 42.
BC 42 (Hunter) IC.
13:06 Hrs. – 2nd Alarm:
Engines 44, 244, 46, and 246.
Trucks 41 and 45.
Rescue 92 (Breathing Support).

Cover assignments:
SNY Station 1 – MTV E-54.
SNY Station 2 – SNC E-99.
SNY Station 4 – SNC E-94.
Fire Associates: FSU-1
FASCV Members: Larry Carr, Mike Garcia, Bob Gundrum (driver), and Dan Wong
-- Report submitted by Bob Gundrum

Monday, April 11, 2016

FASCV Member Jerry Haag Succumbs to Cerebral Hemorrhage

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of long-time Fire Associates member, Jerry Haag.
Jerry was feeling ill on the morning of Monday, April 11, and called 911 around 8:00 A.M. He was experiencing a very strong headache and vision problems. Mountain View Fire’s Engine 53 responded, Jerry met them at the door, and was able to talk with the crew. They took Jerry to El Camino Hospital, but he went downhill from there, and at some point lost consciousness. The diagnosis was a massive cerebral hemorrhage and there was nothing the doctors could do for him. Jerry did not regain consciousness and died that evening at approximately 7:30 P.M.
Jerry was a past-president of Fire Associates, emergency radio coordinator for the City of Mountain View, and a former civilian Fire Inspector for the San Jose Fire Department.
There will be a memorial service for Jerry at 3:00 PM on Sunday, April 17, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1715 Grant Road in Los Altos.  A reception will follow. All who knew Jerry are invited to attend.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

East San Jose House Fire

On a rainy Sunday morning, April 10, at 4:23 A.M., San Jose Fire dispatched units to a residential structure fire that soon escalated to a 2nd alarm response. The scene was 1028 Wilsham Drive, off Ruge Drive, near Capitol Avenue and Berryessa Road.

At 5:41 A.M., Fire Associates received a pageout request for a Fire Support Unit to respond. John Whiteside met Don Gilbert and SJ Station 6 to take FSU-2 to the scene.

In the drizzly rain, they provided bottled water, hot coffee, Clif bars and donuts to the on-scene personnel, including Red Cross. Fire Associates was released at 8:00 A.M., returning to Station 6.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Firefighters Tackle Milpitas House Fire

Date:  04-07-2016
Agency: Milpitas Fire
Incident Address: 859 Alisa Ct.
Type:  Two Story House Fire

Fire started in garage and burned into above master bedroom. FSU-1 arrived approx. 7:45 P.M.; Released at 10:00 P.M.

Agency Responders: 

MLP: BC86 (Stelling), Engs. 86, 87, 88; Trucks 86 and 89; USAR 86

FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver)

-- Report submitted by Mike Garcia

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Early Morning Blaze In San Jose

Very early Sunday, April 3, at 00:03 A.M., San Jose Fire dispatched a 3rd alarm complement to the Coastal Lumber Company located at the west, dead-end of Pullman Way, cross street of Daylight Way, in south San Jose. The original dispatch was at 11:42 P.M. with reports of flames and smoke coming from 2915 Daylight Way.
The L-shaped property was enclosed on the Daylight Way side by a very tall, solid metal fence. The first arriving engine company used a ladder to climb up and peer over the fence to locate the actual fire ground. Eventually three different driveways were used to access the stubborn fire, which was debris burning inside a building.
Fire Associates received the dispatch page for a response on the 3rd alarm. John Whiteside, who had been monitoring the call on the radio, responded with Fire Support Unit 3 from San Jose Station 35, and was met on-scene by Mike Garcia.
Water, Gatorade, and Clif Bars were provided the firefighters, including the fresh, fire watch crews arriving as John was preparing to leave. John was released at 3:15 A.M., returning to station 35 and eventually home by 4:00 A.M. to get some sleep.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fire Associates Makes Voluntary Response In San Jose

On Wed., March 30, at 11:30 A.M., John Whitaker had Fire Support Unit 2 out of the station to st retch its legs. It had been a while since the rig had been on a response -- and an even longer time since John had been on a response.
As a des tination, John headed over to SJFD Station 1 in downtown San Jose. But, as luck would have it, just as he arrived at the station, the dispatch radio crackled with the report of a warehouse fire in the area of Alma and S. 7th Street. A full first alarm was called and all of the Station 1 equipment responded as part of the dispatch.

John sat in FSU-2 at the rear of the station to see what the first-arriving units reported. The report came back that the fire was burning at the rear of the warehouse and a second alarm was called. John immediately headed for the location to see if Rehab support was needed. The actual location of the fire turned out to be more in the area of 1460 S. Monterey Hwy. -- just south of a new Walmart shopping center.
Once on scene, John contacted the Battalion 1 Chief and Med30 and it was decided that Rehab was not needed. While there, John was met by FASCV member Don Gilbert who arrived in his personal vehicle. He had been out shopping and noticed the smoke.

It turned out that the fire was actually a large trash fire along the railroad right of way at the rear of the building. Fire crews made quick work extinguishing the blaze. John stayed on scene until the crews were released and then headed back to Station 6.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fire Associates Responds to 2-Alarm Condo Fire in Morgan Hill

Friday night, March 25, at a few minutes past 8:00 P.M., the Morgan Hill Cal Fire dispatch center received reports of a working fire in a condo unit in the Nob Hill Manor located at 17100 Viewcrest Lane. This is a 3-story, multiple-unit condo complex off West Dunne Avenue. The fire was burning on the 3rd floor.
A 2nd alarm was eventually dispatched and Morgan Hill Fire was assisted by units from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Cal Fire, and San Jose. Eight engines and 2 trucks were dispatched. The crews did a great job in limiting the fire to a single unit, displacing only the single occupant.
Fire Associates were paged at 8:39 P.M. for a Fire Support Unit. John Whiteside responded with FSU-3 from south San Jose for the approximately 16-mile drive. Bill Roth had picked up donuts and was waiting on-scene for John. Guest Teri Cosentino also assisted. Water, coffee, Gatorade, Clif Bars and donuts were provided to the on-scene personnel. FSU-3 was released at 11:15 P.M., returning to San Jose Station 35.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Barn Fire In San Martin

Photo By Bill Roth
On Sunday, March 20, at 6:26 A.M., South Santa Clara County Fire District dispatch (Cal Fire Morgan Hill) requested Fire Associates to a 2nd alarm structure fire involving a barn and adjacent recreation vehicle. The blaze was located at 12600 Center Ave., in San Martin. Additional fire units from Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Cal Fire, and San Jose departments responded to the scene or covered vacant stations. Approximately 12 engines and water tenders worked a portable water tank set up on Center Avenue, relay pumping into the scene.
John Whiteside was notified and responded with Fire Support Unit 3 -- about 21 miles from south San Jose. FASCV member Bill Roth lives just a few blocks from the scene and was waiting for John to arrive. Guest Teri Cosentino also assisted. Fire Associates provided bench seats, hot coffee, water, Gatorade, Clif Bars and ever-popular donuts to on-scene personnel.
Also, per Cal Fire request, Bill Roth transported used fire hose to Station 2 using his personal pickup truck after the fire.

Fire Associates was released at 10:10 A.M. and John returned FSU-3 to quarters at San Jose Station 35, to restock and be ready for the next response.

-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Busy Day In Milpitas

Saturday, March 19, turned into one of the busiest afternoons on record for Milpitas Fire. A fire at Walmart on Ranch Drive started the afternoon. Arriving units had a store being evacuated, smoke from the roof, and sprinklers inside flooding merchandise and the store. Walmart staff were trying to get people to evacuate, most had items in their carts they didn’t want to relinquish, not understanding the scope of the emergency.
With smoke and flaming showing above the large building, a second alarm requested, which brought engines, a truck and a Chief from Fremont Fire, while San Jose responded an engine to provide city coverage for Milpitas.
The firefight was complicated by the involvement of a solar installation, which was involved in the fire. Eventually crews got a handle on things and got the fire extinguished, using 2 hand lines from the roof. There was a lot of water inside the building though, adding to the flooding situation. The water from above made the ceiling tiles in the fire area unstable.
With the fire extinguished, it was decided to release the Fremont units, and while there was extensive overhaul required, Milpitas’ 3 engines and two trucks could handle the situation at Walmart.
No sooner was Fremont equipment on their way home than reports of a vehicle on it’s side started coming in, for a location just around the corner from Walmart on McCarthy Blvd. near Dixon Landing Rd. Walmart IC cleared one of it’s Engine companies to respond to the MVA. Meanwhile San Jose’s rig was dispatched to a medical incident elsewhere in Milpitas. The Fremont crews came across the Dixon Landing incident on their way out and began to work the scene. They had a vehicle on its side, smoking, with an occupant trapped inside. After evaluation they requested a Heavy Rescue response to the scene. Walmart IC cleared the Truck/USAR from their scene to assist on the Dixon Landing incident, as well as the engine already en route and the Fremont crews on scene.
The Milpitas duty chief, en route to the Walmart incident, diverted to the rescue. A new call involving a car on it’s side came in on the other side of the city off Montague Expressway. Another rig was cleared from Walmart to investigate the second motor accident. Yet another medical incident came in, with no units left in the city a request was made to San Jose for another rig to assist with the new medical incident.
Sadly, the Dixon Landing incident was a fatality. While an extended recovery operation would still be required, the duty chief was able to clear the Truck/USAR to respond to the second car on it’s side over on Montague Expressway.
Around this time, Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki arrived at the Walmart incident with Fire Support Unit 2. While there was much work still to happen at this site they dropped down to a single truck company when the last remaining Milpitas engine was responded to yet another medical incident. Rehab was briefly provided to the crew remaining on scene, and a supply of water, Gatorade and snacks was left on scene to help the crews who would surely be back later in the afternoon. Walmart IC was concerned about reports of an extended recovery operation at the Dixon Landing incident, and as it was only around the corner asked Fire Support Unit 2 to stop there and assist the crews on scene.
As FSU-2 was departing, the Truck/USAR were returning to Walmart, having been released from the Montague incident, and the Engine on Montague released the second San Jose unit and took their medical incident. Fire Support Unit 2 responded to the Dixon Landing incident and rehabbed crews on scene, before returning to service.
The crews from Milpitas and Fremont were busy, but very grateful for a friendly face and a cold drink in the middle of the craziness at multiple scenes.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Friday, February 26, 2016

San Jose Firefighters Call In 4-Alarm Blaze

Photo By Craig Allyn Rose
Just after noon on Friday, February 26, San Jose Fire Department’s Truck 30 noticed heavy flames coming from a residence across the street from the station on Auzerais Ave. Calling in immediately for a first and second alarm response, they went to work evacuating residents. The fire rapidly spread to the "Bravo 1", "Charlie 1", "Delta 1", and "Delta 2" exposures, leaving flames attacking multiple properties. Within 25 minutes, the IC, now Battalion 10, had escalated the incident to 3 alarms, and soon 4 alarms.
With the 3rd alarm dispatch, Fire Associates assistance was requested. Fortunately, our driver, Don Gilbert, was able to navigate Fire Support Unit 2 from the west side of Auzerais Ave. all the way into the fire scene, and it was quickly decided to set up Rehab INSIDE the apparatus bay at Fire Station 30. While Don was setting up the primary Rehab at Station 30, Fire Associates volunteer Bruce Dembecki was working to get cold drinks to crews working behind the fire ground on the "Charlie" side. County EMS joined the Fire Support Unit inside Station 30 to conduct a formal Rehab.
Apart from the very unusual benefit of running Rehab from an indoors location, there was the added benefit of being at Fire Station 30 -- home to Fire Associates' Rehab hydration supplies. So, water and Gatorade were pulled right off the station shelves -- instead of using the supplies on Fire Support Unit 2.
With Rehab up and running, FASCV members set about feeding the fire crews. Bruce made a run to a local restaurant and picked up 90 meals, and brought them back to set up a spot for lunch right in the apparatus bay at Station 30. We know serving meals happens multiple times a day at Station 30, but never before 90 meals at lunchtime! Fire Associates members George Hoyt, Rick James, and Mike Garcia also reported to duty at Station 30 to assist with the meal service.
By 4:00 P.M., crews had been fed and some teams were being released to go back into service. With a supply of drinks on hand and benches to provide remaining crews a break, it was decided FSU-2 could also go back into service. The rig was packed up and returned to service at 4:30 P.M., dropping off the left over meals to the BFO where an academy class was happy to meet Fire Associates and get an extra meal!
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Palo Alto Fire Responds 3 Alarms to House Fire

Date and Time: Feb. 20, 2016, 11:40 A.M.
Agency: Palo Alto Fire
Incident Address: 1143 Bryant St., Palo Alto
Type: Third alarm
Details: Two-story, older home. Fire started in attic then moved down through the walls to the remainder of the house. Larry Carr in FSU-4 responded to the incident for Fire Associates. FSU-1 also responded and, while on scene, provided bottled water, Cliff Bars, and ice to restock FSU-4. The Fire Support Units were released from the scene at approximately 2:25 P.M.
Agency Responders: Palo Alto, Santa Clara County Fire, Mountain View, Santa Clara City Fire, and Menlo Park. IC: A/BC Bill Dale. 
FASCV Responding Units: FSU-4 and FSU-1.
FASCV Responders: Larry Carr, Mike Garcia, Bob Gundrum, and Dan Wong.
-- Report submitted by Larry Carr.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fire Associates Responds to 2-Alarm Blaze In Gilroy

On February 16, near 5:00 P.M., Gilroy Fire dispatched units to a working structure fire at 7238 Alexander Street, at E. 8th Street. This was the Mission Powder Coating Company, a large 10,000+ sq.ft. building. Crews said the fire was through the roof upon arriving and a 2nd alarm was requested. This brought 6 additional mutual aid engines from South Santa Clara County Fire District, Morgan Hill, and San Jose to assist at the fire and cover vacant stations. 
Fire Associates was initially alerted for a possible response by the Cal Fire Morgan Hill Command Center around 5:30 P.M. when the Duty Captain called John Whiteside to inform him (and thus Fire Associates) of the fire situation and that FA might be requested by Gilroy Fire. Several minutes later a formal request was made.
John had earlier made several calls to FA members and realized he would be responding alone. Member Bill Roth, who lives in the area, was already dispatched to the fire as a Gilroy Police Volunteer In Policing (VIP). John went to San Jose Station 6 to drive Fire Support Unit 2 to Gilroy, about 25 miles away. 
Upon arrival, John provided hot coffee, donuts, CLIF bars, and set up lighting and portable benches for the tired crews in Rehab. Sandwiches had been brought to the scene and CALFIRE provided cold drinks. John was released at 10:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Third Alarm Called as Multiple Structures Burn In Willow Glen

On February 3, at a few minutes past 8:00 P.M., San Jose Fire dispatchers received many calls of a fully involved house fire in the Willow Glen area. The address was 1041 Ellis Avenue near its intersection with Louise Avenue -- just off Lincoln Avenue. The location is only several blocks from SJFD Station 6, where Engine 6, Air Unit 6, and Fire Support Unit #2 are housed. 
A full first alarm was dispatched: 3 engines, 2 trucks, 2 chiefs, a squad, etc. Upon arrival, E6 reported a 2.5-story home under construction, fully involved, with scaffolding in place on the front of the structure. A hydrant was almost directly in front of the involved house, but the heat was too intense for the engine to position there, so it moved down to the next house, while laying a 5-inch supply line.
The intense heat soon began to influence the 2 adjacent structures as well as a detached garage at the rear. A 2nd alarm was requested by the Incident Commander, and resulted in a 5-inch hose being laid across Lincoln Ave., closing that main artery for over 3 hours. Due to the structural conditions and scaffolding, a collapse zone was established at the scene.
At approximately 9:20 P.M., a roof fire was reported to be starting on a house a block behind, and across a street, from the primary structure. The IC requsted a 3rd alarm -- which automatically pages Fire Associates for a response. 
Don Gilbert and John Whiteside met at Station 6 to take FSU-2 to the scene. They were assisted later by guest Teri Cosentino. FSU-2 was released at 12:15 A.M., February 4, after serving the initial fire crews while waiting for the fire-watch crew to arrive.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Saratoga House Fire Goes to 2 Alarms

Date and Time: Jan. 12, 2016, 8:02 P.M.
Agency: Santa Clara County Fire
Type: Second alarm
Incident Address: 19459 Burgundy Way, Saratoga
Details: Fast-developing fire in the garage of a large single-story, ranch-style dwelling was starting to spread to the attic on the "Bravo" side upon arrival of the first unit, Engine 78. Three attack lines were ultimately used to stop the spread and extinguish the fire. Most of the building and contents were saved by aggressive interior attack. Fire Support Unit 1 arrived at about 8:45 P.M. and was released from the scene at 11:30 P.M.
Agency Responders:
County Fire: Engines 71, 72, 73, 78, 79; Rescue-73; Trucks 71 and 85; Breathing Support 72; HazMat 72; and BCs 72 (Yannoni-IC), 74, and 83.
FASCV Responding Unit: FSU-1.
FASCV Responders: Mike Garcia (driver) and Jerry Haag
-- Report submitted by Jerry Haag

Sunday, January 3, 2016

San Jose House Fire Requires A 3-Alarm Response

A little after noon on Sunday, Jan. 3, San Jose Fire dispatchers received multiple reports of a house on fire on S. 10th Street. Initial reports included one that an elderly resident had been carried from the residence and was unconscious on the ground outside the home with others going into the structure to retrieve a second elderly resident. With Med 30 reporting smoke visible from Station 30, and the report of rescues in progress with residents needing medical assistance, Battalion 1 escalated the incident to a second alarm before units had arrived on scene.
With reports of at least 2 injuries and more people inside, an EMS Task Force was summoned to the scene, bringing 3 ambulances, an EMS Field Supervisor, and the EMS Duty Chief to the scene. Working under Med 30 as Medical Group, together with an Engine company, they were able to quickly start treatment on the two residents.
Due to a heavy fuel load inside the home, the fire was very hot. More than one captain inside the residence reported that the screens of their thermal imaging cameras had gone white. Early attempts to search the 2nd story were unsuccessful due to lack of visibility and heat. Firefighters attempting to vent the roof reported the roof was becoming rapidly spongy and were ordered off the roof.
Suddenly, the radios blared with a distress call. A firefighter had fallen through some stairs into the floor below. Some initial confusion over exactly which stairs had failed, and where the firefighter was, were quickly overcome when the firefighter was able to exit the building on his own and was escorted to the medical group for evaluation.
With conditions going from bad to worse, a third alarm was struck at 12:41 P.M. -- only 26 minutes after the initial call was received. With the 3rd Alarm came pager notifications to Fire Associates members that their assistance was needed in Rehab. Fire Associates member Bruce Dembecki responded to the incident, picking up Fire Support Unit 2 on the way.
Crews were eventually able to complete a primary search on the second floor. There was also a basement, but with a damaged stairway it was not possible to conduct a search until much later in the afternoon.
With the residents having been transported to hospital, and the firefighter released to resume duties on the fireground, the Medical group had switched to Rehab by the time Fire Support Unit 2 arrived on the scene. FSU-2 joined the Rehab section and set up hydration and some much needed Cliff bars. One nearby Chief later said the Cliff Bars were being “inhaled” by hungry firefighters, some of whom had not had the opportunity to have lunch before this incident began.
After a cool down period had been conducted, and firefighters cycled through Rehab, an overhaul plan was prepared and Bruce was sent to arrange meals for the remaining crews. Around 3:30 P.M., crews finally got to have lunch and 30 burritos disappeared before our eyes. Fire Support Unit 2 was released at approximately 5:00 P.M. and was packed up and back in quarters by 5:30 P.M.
-- Report submitted by Bruce Dembecki