Friday, August 14, 2009

Neighborhood (Inter)connections

At about 1:30am on July 23rd, a four-alarm fire broke out at the South San Francisco plant of Columbus Foods in South San Francisco. Flames at the facility, where the company slices and packages a wide range of cured meat products, were so intense that SSF firefighters had to retreat from the building and set up elevated hoses so that water could be poured from above and onto the burning roof. To help fight the blaze, SSF crews were joined by those from Brisbane, Daly City, Burlingame, and San Mateo. But that’s not the only way that neighboring cities were able to help get this blaze under control.

South San Francisco, itself a part of California Water Service Company’s (Cal Water) Bayshore District, gets its water from the City and County of San Francisco (SFPUC) as well as five groundwater sources (aka, wells). Due to the extreme intensity of the Columbus Foods fire that morning, the battalion chief at the scene quickly called Cal Water and requested all the water and pressure the District could provide. However it wasn’t long before Cal Water's water storage and system pressure dropped to critical levels. Another water source was needed…and needed fast.

That’s when the Brisbane Water Dept. received the call for help. Dale Allen and Ramiro Ibarra, two of the Public Works employees on the City’s Water Team, quickly headed down to Sierra Point, where they met Cal Water foreman Bob Pagano at one of the City’s emergency water interconnection sites – this one along Shoreline Court (the City has three total water interconnections, the other two being tied in with Daly City’s water distribution system). As you can begin to see, having three water interconnections with two other service agencies provides Brisbane and its neighboring cities a mutual level of pre-planned support.

And this was exactly the case the morning of July 23rd. Using a 12-ft. valve key, Dale and Ramiro assisted the Cal Water foreman with opening the interconnection between Brisbane and Cal Water, allowing high-pressure water to flow through Brisbane’s 16” interconnection pipe to South San Francisco, and ultimately to the firefighters who were in desperate need of it.

Ramiro and Dale with the valve key they used to turn on the emergency interconnection on Shoreline Court.

Placing the valve key on a 2” square bolt saves the Water Team a trip down here.

The demarcations on this joint meter indicate which direction water normally flows.

Ramiro and Dale demonstrate they’re ready to assist our neighbors when it comes to providing additional water resources.

Thanks to the quick response of Dale and Ramiro, and the close collaboration between them and Cal Water personnel, 750,000 gallons of water was transferred to SSF, supplementing the fire flow necessary to successfully fight a four-alarm fire. Kudos to you both and all the firefighters involved in fighting this fire. This event highlighted how a tiny town could actually do a lot to help out, with the result being a continued, secured relationship with our neighbors (or, maybe in this case, a procured relationship).

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The Annual "Day in the Park" festival is just around the corner and that means the Brisbane Derby is, too. Check out last year's First Place Winners!

First place winner Jacob Pubill, 8 and Under Division

First place winner Angelina Dempsey, 9 and Over Division

The Parks and Rec. department is now accepting race entries, so if you're between the ages of 7 - 14 years old and a Brisbane resident, you qualify as a derby contender! For more information, or if you'd like to be a Derby Sponsor, call Recreation Supervisor Russ Carmick at 508-2143.

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Concerts in the Park continues tonight with the rock 'n' roll dance band Brother Buzz taking the stage. Having played together for over 15 years, these four guys are sure to put on a great concert, kicking off at 6:00pm. So come on down to the Community Park and get ready to have a rockin' good time. It's a great chance to connect with others in the community, too!

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But whatever we do this weekend, it's important to be safe. Practicing smart emergency planning is even better. Realizing that getting started is oftentimes the hard part, the Brisbane Office of Emergency Services prepares a "Tip of the Month" for you. Check out this month's tip by clicking here and see how you and your family can become prepared for the next major disaster.

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