San Jose brush fire prompts animal evacuations, neighbors to leap into action

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A brush fire broke out in San Jose near Interstate 680 and Berryessa Road Thursday afternoon. Homes were saved, but some property was still damaged. Flames came closest to structures just off North Capitol Avenue, a few blocks from Mabury Road.

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A blackened field is left, and about five acres of open space was burned. People who live across from the area didn't wait for firefighters. They became firefighters.

"We all got into action," said Karen Abad, who told ABC7 News her husband was in the garage when he saw the smoke and flames.

He called to her, and she called 911, but they didn't stop helping after that.

"We all grabbed hoses from our neighbors who weren't home," Abad said. "We called them and told them to come home and we all just grabbed each other's hoses."

They fought back the flames until San Jose firefighters arrived.

"I just hoped nobody's home would burn and the wind kept shifting so you never knew where it was going," Abad told ABC7 News.

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The fire department did not evacuate any homes, but it did give the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley a mandatory order. "We literally took 483 animals out of our hospital and some of our enclosures and loaded them into trucks and vehicles," said Executive Director Laura Hawkins.

Animals included birds, possums, and ducklings.

"When we see something that close with flames and smoke, you know, whe get into action," Hawkins added.

It took firefighters about three hours to put out the fire. It was the third incident in the area Thursday.

"We had units going up to Mount Hamilton. We had units going up to a brush fire down at 85 and 87," said San Jose Fire Captain Edward Dziuba. "And then this one came shortly after."

The fire also threatened the East Side Union High School District offices. The San Jose Fire Department said the flames did not damage any structures or homes.

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