Recalled Captain Kenneth J. Conroy and his relief crew responded to Oakland aboard the Municipal Railway motor coach and were staged at the Claremont Hotel.
He was assigned to lead a task force of apparatus composed of Engine Companies 3 and 6 with relief crews, Treasure Island Engine 2. and a 5,000-gallon private water tanker. This task force was initially assigned to relieve companies along Alvarado Rd. near Claremont Ave.
Mutual aid apparatus parked helter-skelter and five-inch hoselays along Alvarado Rd. blocked the way, so the task force returned to the San Francisco command post.
Captain Conroy was then instructed by Assistant Chief Hickey to take the task force and survey the area along Fish Ranch Rd. and, if necessary, establish a fire line to hold the leeward side of the conflagration.
"Half-way up Claremont near Alvarado Rd.," said Capt. Conroy, "I ran into CDF who was trying to cut through with a `cat' to some buildings already involved in fire. I spoke with the CDF officer and he said, they already had four or five CDF rigs there, and that they had the situation under control at that point."
Captain Conroy said, "We continued up Claremont Ave. and eventually came to the top where there was a CDF communications and base camp, and there I asked CDF what their needs were. They responded that they had a situation occurring [in the steep ravine] below Grizzly Peak Terrace, and they feared that fire would extend to the unprotected homes along the ridge."
There were no firefighters on the other side of the ravine which cuts along the Oakland-Berkeley line at about a 45 percent grade; if the fire jumped there, the conflagration would spread to the Claremont Hotel as well as the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
The CDF officer was concerned about the heavy volume of fire in the ravine working its way up toward Grizzly Peak Terrace and asked Capt. Conroy to put his task force to work and suppress the fire.
"I cleared that request with [Assistant] Chief Hickey who had joined us near the top of the peak. He authorized our actions on Grizzly Peak Blvd., and so we set up a fire line immediately below the terrace and began extinguishing fire involved on the hillside."
The fire volume was heavy, and Capt. Conroy said, "We worked our way down the hill, hitting the hot spots, and behind us I had the crew of the 5,000-gallon tanker spray the entire area from our location to all the way back up to Grizzly Peak Blvd." This detail took more than two hours.
Later, the task force returned to the CDF base camp and were then detailed back to the San Francisco command post at the Claremont where members of task force spent the rest of the night strengthening perimeter defenses around the hotel.