Extreme cold puts strain on firefighters

Crews battle a house fire in Springfield Township January 3rd, 2018.

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) –  In the frigid weather, fire crews are battling mother nature along with flames and smoke. Wednesday morning’s subzero temperatures presented some additional challenges to firefighters around the Miami Valley.

In Springfield Township, the first crew on scene ran into issues with its ladder truck malfunctioning in the cold. To help give its firefighters a break from the elements, the Springfield Township Fire Department called for assistance for neighboring departments.

READ MORE: Two people escape house fire in Springfield Township

In Dayton, dangerous wind chills plagued crews responding to three garage fires near Drake Avenue.

READ MORE: Three garage fires under investigation in Dayton

“Our personnel have to take more frequent breaks and rehab to thaw themselves out. They get fatigued a lot quicker,” explained fire inspector Scott Jacobs, of the Dayton Fire Department.

Jacobs said cold weather slows down crews and equipment on scene, as well as fire engines dealing with icy roads on their way to calls.

“It does take a little bit longer for everybody to slow down and stop,” Jacobs said. “Those vehicles are much heavier, so it does take us a little longer and it’s a little bit hard to control on snow and ice.”

He said treacherous roads make it even more important for motorists to stay alert and yield to emergency vehicles.

The fire department also asks homeowners and residents to clean out snow and ice from around fire hydrants, so they’re easily accessible.

Crews on both scenes Wednesday called for salt trucks to minimize the slick to lay down traction on slick roads, and firefighters had to maneuver equipment to keep it from freezing.

“We obviously have the below freezing temperatures, which can cause our water to freeze, so we have to take extra caution that our pumps are being used properly,” Jacobs said.

No one was hurt in either of Wednesday morning’s calls. Both fires are still under investigation.

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