Firefighters take extra precaution in frigid temperatures

Local

The bone-chilling temperatures that settled in across the Midstate are only complicating the jobs of firefighters.

We caught up with Chief Kenny Whitebread of the Middletown Volunteer Fire Department to see how his crew deals with the bitter cold.

Their biggest weapon against the weather: a “dry bag” full of extra clothes, hand warmers, and gloves. It sits near their normal turnout gear and as they head out to a call, it’s tossed right into the truck.

Whitebread and his crew responded to a fire Wednesday around 1:30 a.m. on South Union Street. A man and his dog were able to escape unharmed.

Firefighters were working in subzero wind chills, meaning the road and sidewalk were both full of ice, and that changes how they have to work.

“We had to have a salt truck come down while the fire was still active to salt not only the road and the fire ground area but the sidewalks around it,” Whitebread said.

Hoses and valves on the trucks can also seize up, so crews try to keep water circulating while on the scene of a fire to keep the pump from freezing.

The fire sparked as the homeowner was trying to warm his home in an unidentified way. The department reminds everyone to not use their stove or oven to heat their house, and make sure space heaters are plugged directly into an outlet.

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