Fire trucks freeze leaving home a total loss - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fire trucks freeze leaving home a total loss

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Crews battled a roaring fire in Minnesota earlier this week.

The first fire engine froze up-forcing them to get a second one, which also then froze up.

They had to wait another ten minutes for another department to show up, but by then, it was too late.

 KWWL talking with Waterloo's Fire Department to find out what they can do to prevent this from happening here, when they battle flames in freezing temps.

 Waterloo Fire Lt. William Beck says extreme cold and wind chills like we see here in Iowa adds extra obstacles for firefighters and extra protocols.

"If we could take all this metal off [this part of the fire truck], you would see all kinds of valves and pipes. That is normally full of water during the summer or in a warm winter climate. With being in Iowa where we have the below zero temperatures, we have to 'drain the pump' to take as much water as possible out of the pipes," said Beck.

But, there is still plenty of water in the truck's large tank.

When they do respond to winter fire calls, the department always have back-up trucks with dry pipes waiting near-by.

Once water is pumped from the trucks, a slow trickle is kept at all times. However, some times the conditions are just too extreme.

"The nozzles themselves because we leave that water dripping, will actually plug with the ice freezing to it and then you have all the problems farther back [into the truck]," said Beck.

The cold temps make a hard job even harder.

"I often times will talk to my wife about getting a firefighter job in San Diego, but I like it here," said Beck.

Lt. Beck ask that residents, who can, shovel around fire hydrants to keep them clear during the winter months.

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