Firefighters braving the cold - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Firefighters braving the cold

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The exact cause of a Raymar home fire is under investigation.

At least three different fire crews clashed with the winter-like elements while battling that fire.

The mixture of fire and chilly weather doesn't cancel itself out.

In fact, it makes it more difficult for firefighters to do their job.

It was an early and bone-chilling scene Wednesday with firefighters from several agencies responding to help.

Evansdale Assistant Fire Chief Justin Smock explains what fighting fire in winter-like weather is all about .

"The gear keeps us insulated and warm, up until we get it wet, which water is what we use. So, it's kind of a double-edged sword," Smock said.

While opening valves from the truck, Smock said they never fully shut it off to keep lines from freezing.

"Once our gear gets wet, it gets to the point where it can freeze and stand on its own on prolonged exposures," Smock said.

Smock added, the colder elements limit the time a firefighter can work.

"We may lose 10-15 minutes of that because of the conditions," Assistant Chief Smock said.

Pieces of the burnt home likely grab your attention at first, but Justin says what firefighters focus on the most is the icy ground where they have to fight those fires.

Adding, the thousands of gallons of water they use to douse the flames can turn into an icy lake in a matter of minutes.

"The physical elements of using more muscles to stay on our feet, what happens is, we see the fatigue or cold set in to where we need to keep our people warm, and we may go through personnel quicker, and then it's just keeping an eye on the personnel." Smock said.

Smock said there's always an ambulance on scene for firefighters in case they need to be treated or just get out of the cold.

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