East San Jose fire could have been worse firefighters say, officials remind residents to be vigilant

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Tuesday's fire in the foothills of East San Jose could've been much worse, says Captain Mitch Matlow from the San Jose Fire Department.

A downed wire may have sparked the vegetation fire that spread to a nearby house on McVay Ave. But it was contained quickly and no residents were injured, thanks to a few things that went right.

It's a reminder to communities on the wildland/urban interface to remain vigilant about fire preparedness.

RELATED: 1 firefighter injured as crews battled brush fire in San Jose

Raymond Su, the neighbor who called 911, takes the threats to his home and neighbors very seriously. His backyard has a clear view of the home that caught fire.

"The fire was actually coming pretty slowly and you can see it but I knew based on the topography here, you don't want to catch the bushes. The fire can start jumping upwards very quickly," he said.

Su has also been preparing his home for weeks. He says he's lived in the East San Jose neighborhood long enough to know that he can't take any chances.

"About 15 feet from the street here it's been cleared, so there's very few ignition sources," he said, showing us around his driveway.

Matlow urges residents to do even more. He recommends a 30 feet band of dirt or concrete around your home, keeping the grass to four inches or shorter, and clearing any brush around trees.

"I do know that I saw some stuff yesterday that wasn't well managed in that same neighborhood," he said.

Su says he knows he must stay vigilant-- especially because the trees and vegetation around his house just keeps growing every season. It's a concern, he just hopes is shared by his neighbors.

"If one person doesn't, it could mean the end of the whole neighborhood but it's kind of a trust thing," he said.
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