Winter Weather Makes Firefighting Difficult

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

February 5, 2007

Fighting fires, such as the one early Monday morning at a house in Keswick, is especially difficult in cold temperatures.

It was below twenty degrees when firefighters got the call at 3:15 a.m. to a house completely engulfed in flames.

A mother and her son were able to get out safely and crews put out the fire in about an hour, but they battled not just the hot elements, but also the cold ones.

As East Rivanna Fire Chief, John Hood, put it, they encountered 'frozen roads, frozen hubs, and frozen people.'

"We have to keep the trucks from freezing up, the hoses from freezing up," explained Hood. "It's very hard on the personnel because they are out in the cold, bitter weather. And it's just generally harder all the way around."

Hood said they encountered all these problems Monday morning. They set up a rehab area to get the crews warmed up, and sanded roads so the water they used would not freeze.

They know the fire started in the kitchen, but will not know the exact cause until the investigation wraps up.

In the meantime, the family is staying with relatives.

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