Winter conditions make fires even more dangerous for fire crews

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind--Firefighting is a dangerous job made even more dangerous in the winter months.

But for Indiana firefighters, it’s all in a day’s work. Typically, the winter brings more fires for crews to put out. The misuse of heat sources like space heaters, fireplaces and furnaces commonly help fuel those numbers.

Firefighters say those fires can become more difficult to put out the further we get into winter. Issues with icy surroundings, snow-covered fire hydrants and extreme cold often make their jobs harder.

On Thursday, crews from IFD’s Battalion 5 battled a structure fire on the city’s south side.

Crews were there for more than three hours putting out flames. By the end of it, the ground, the building, and the firefighters were all covered in ice.

“Everything we use freezes up, the ladder freezes up, the roofs freeze up everyone is slipping and falling,” Battalion Chief Howard Stahl said.

Stahl says firefighters can typically wear about 25 pounds of extra gear in the winter which also makes it harder for them to move. He says the longer they’re exposed to the cold temperatures, the harder it becomes to maintain mobility and dexterity.

“We had several members slip and fall, nobody was hurt fortunately, we got them before they went down but that’s the biggest part," said Stahl.

Stahl says residents can help firefighters in the winter by making sure fire hydrants in the neighborhood stay clear of snow and ice. Hooking up to a hydrant is usually the first job they have to perform at a scene, so having an unobstructed path is crucial.

 

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