Archive for the ‘Fire’ Category

Northside fire department incident

I’m not sure of the details, but the fire department was out at two locations just two blocks away from each other this afternoon. First I saw them at 11th and Jackson Streets, apparently mopping up after a fire in an RV parked in the street. Then at 13th Street they were cleaning up after another incident, although I didn’t see any damaged building or vehicle.

World’s Going to Hell

We went to Oregon last weekend. On the way up, we saw the lightning storm and on the way back we had to drive through the fire. Could barely see what was ahead of us, the visibility was so poor.We have a filter going on inside our apartment and keep all the windows closed. If I spend too much time outside, I start coughing and my eyes get really itchy. According to some of the news reports I’ve been hearing on the radio, I’m not the only one. Heard that there was going to be more dry lightning storms over the next few days so be prepared! Oh, and the lake at Mount Shasta is drying out. It’s such a depressing sight. 

Evacuating Animals due to the Santa Cruz Fire

As the Santa Cruz fire rages on, animal services wants to remind everyone who needs to evacuate to bring along their animals. Anyone who needs help with evacuating their pets or needs a place to keep their animals can call 831-454-7303. Animal shelters are also stepping up and accepting any small animal (cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, etc.) that needs a temporary home.

Donations, supplies, volunteers, and fosters are greatly appreciated at this time.

Find more information here.

Tanner Home

Side Tanner Home

This morning I checked my Gmail, took a quick look at Metroblogging San Jose, and then glanced at What caught my eye was the story about a house fire near White and McKee Roads.

I lived in that neighborhood in the early 70s, and as I read the article it brought a flood of memories. The house that is now destroyed had belonged to one of my neighbors. Though Mr. Tanner, the gentleman who lived there, and I never spoke he would always wave as I passed by with my young son.

Mr. Tanner had a presence, an easy self-assurance that could be felt on our streets. I had heard rumors that he had been a policeman, but I didn’t know the rest of the story…Francis Carl Tanner Jr., was the first black police officer in San Jose, and from what I have now learned, one of the best. We moved across town in 1979 and I didn’t hear of Officer Tanner’s death in 1991.

This morning, standing in front of the Tanner home, my thoughts were with Mr. Tanner’s wife and daughter during this tragedy.

Red Sun Through the Smoke

Tony, one of our readers, asked a couple of questions regarding the smoke in our area and why the sun appears red.

His question, “it all started today like around 5;30. Outside looked really foggy or smoky i should say. i figured it was because of the fire in morgan hill. but turns out its from a fire in the sierra?? but why was it so much? but i heard somewhere that if theres a big fire the sunset would be really good.but turned out that the sun was the most eye catching. IT WAS RED! like blood.! it looked awesome and i was wondering why??”

Well Tony, I’m hearing mixed reports on the cause of the smoke here in our area. Smoke from a fire in Plumas County (18,500 acres) has been caught up by winds moving south. Along with the Lick fire, (14,000 acres) burning in Santa Clara County, we may be seeing and breathing the effects of both fires.

Sun through the smoke; it looks red.
This is caused by a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It happens when light waves interact with particles, like smoke, smaller than the wavelength of the light. Our eyes see light of different wavelengths and our brains label it in colors. (Isaac Newton understood it, so I don’t need to.)

It is important to protect your eyes against damage from the Sun, even when viewing through the smoke. Never look at the Sun directly, sunglasses do not work, because you may damage your eyes permanently.

Battalion 35


South San Jose will see a brand spanking NEW fire station, scheduled to be fully operational by October 1st 2007. The new 12,000sq-ft station is being constructed with the same style and look of downtown San Jose’s Fire Station No1 and is located on Poughkeepsie Rd between Cottle Rd. and Blossom Hill Rd near Wells Fargo Bank. The new two-story Fire Station 35 will sports 3 bay doors, a hose tower, gear/uniform rooms, dorms, kitchen, landscaped exterior courtyard, and more. The structure is built to the latest earthquake-proof code and will include emergency backup generators to ensure operations in times of disaster. Fire Station 35 will initially start as a single (one) Engine Co. with a 4 person truck along with other support vehicles. Future plans include upgrading to a 2nd Engine Co. and Battalion Chief….date yet to be announced. This project is being paid for by the tax payers who voted yes on “Measure O“.

If you have a hard time remembering things then make an extra effort to remember this: Firefighters are some of the most courageous people on earth. Anyone willing to run into a burning or collapsed building to save “my” sorry-ass, has and will forever receive my fullest support. You’re a bunch of Bad-Asses….welcome to the neighborhood!

San Jose: The Lick Fire

Fire in the Hills

Whew! What’s that smell? Walking outside of my place in Willow Glen yesterday it smelled as though something very close was on fire. It was a shock to find that it was in fact coming from a huge plume of smoke rising from the south-east hills near Henry Coe State Park. It looked like something from Metroblogging Los Angeles, not San Jose.

Firefighters are having a difficult time dealing with the terrain and 5,200 acres have already scummed to the out-of-control flames dubbed “The Lick Fire.”


Houghton-Donner House

Kathleen SJFD

Kathleen, one of about twenty women who work with the Fire Department here in San José, was at the scene of this mornings four-alarm blaze at Fourth and East St. John streets. She was there to help with the making of a video to be used for future SJFD training sessions.

Kathleen believed that the historic Houghton-Donner House, which broke into flames early this morning, may have been scheduled to be moved to a new location. She mentioned that ironically, someone had visited the home just yesterday to take photos in preparation for the possible move.

The home at 156 E. St. John Street was built for Mayor Sherman Houghton and his wife, Donner Party survivor Eliza Donner Houghton.

Of course the cause of the fire is under investigation, but squatters were know to have been in the area. Hopefully the home can be restored and moved to a safe site.



Last night around 11:30 p.m. I shut down my Mac and was heading for bed when I heard the distinctive wailing of firetrucks racing down Meridian Avenue. I could tell it was something big.

It was a three-alarm fire at the Branham House apartments at 1624 Branham Lane near Meridian Ave. Four units were destroyed and others had some damage. Branham High School, which is within walking distance of the complex, was opened for use as a shelter for about 30 people.

The fire was reported at 10:57 p.m., a time when most people were asleep or about to retire. A fire at any time would be horrendous, but it would seem to be especially more difficult to evacuate at night. I would be pressed to find my shoes, not to mention important papers.

The possibility of loosing everything got me to thinking that it might be a good idea to have a small box packed with documents, phone numbers, spare keys, extra cash, a check book, and a few days of medications ready to grab on the way out if hit with a disaster.

Donations for the displaced families

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