On Thursday, November 22, 2012, just before 8:30 PM, units of the San Jose Fire Department responded to reports of a roof fire at 938 Willowleaf Drive inside the Kimberly Woods Apartments. As firefighters began to arrive on scene a working structure fire was confirmed by the officer of Truck 30 with flames and smoke showing from the second floor and roof of the two story, multi-unit apartment building. Firefighters quickly established an offensive attack with crews stretching lines to the interior of the building and going to the roof to provide ventilation. With fire spreading rapidly crews were forced to vacate the structure for a short time as an aerial master stream and deck gun were placed into operation. A second and third-alarm were struck summoning additional resources to the scene. During interior fire attack operations at least two firefighter were injured when a ceiling collapsed on top of them. Captain Lorin Engler (Engine 7C) sustained a concussion and fractured a vertebrae in his neck. Engler remained hospitalized a day after the fire and is reported to be in stable condition. A second firefighter was struck by the same ceiling collapse and was transported to an area hospital where he was treated and released for neck pain. Four of the six units in the building suffered significant damage displacing 18 residents.
Written and photos by Craig Allyn Rose
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