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