Firefighters face additional challenges battling flames in the cold

File photo of fire at 30th and Indiana. (KCTV)

Firefighters don’t have the luxury of staying indoors during the winter. When a fire breaks out, they’ll endure the extreme cold to do their job.

As temperatures plummeted over the past week, fire crews tackled blaze after blaze, all while fighting the elements.

Just this morning, KCK officers were called to a fire at a business near James and W. 9th.

“When it's frigid cold, sometimes you could have trouble with appliances freezing up or hoses getting stiff,” said Batallion Chief Morris Letcher with the KCK Fire Department.

In the past week, we’ve seen apartments catch fire in Kansas City and Gladstone.

Homes smoked on Troost and the Paseo, in Parkville and in Overland Park.

Each presented a challenge above and beyond the usual with this risky job because it’s not easy fighting fires in the cold.

Freezing water creates slick conditions and puts crews at risk of hyperthermia.

“We try to stay as dry as possible this time of year because that water will freeze on us, on our gear, on our helmets, and make our body temperatures fall eventually,” said Lt. Tyler Rathe with the Overland Park Fire Department.

They rotate firefighters, giving them a chance to warm up while their teammates continue the task at hand.

Do what you can to prevent fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is involved in one in every seven home fires. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from things like fireplaces and space heaters, and only plug one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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