Fire departments face challenges during winter season - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Fire departments face challenges during winter season

(Source:Jasmine Dell/KFVS) (Source:Jasmine Dell/KFVS)

The B&H Livestock Market in Stoddard County is a total loss after a fire overnight Monday, but the owner said the business in insured and he plans to rebuild.

The Bloomfield fire chief said the flames were so intense that crews had to keep their distance.

It was the second night in a row where fire crews battled flames in below-freezing temperatures.

An early-morning fire destroyed a building in Jefferson County, Illinois on Monday.

Perryville’s assistant fire chief said all departments face multiple challenges when it comes to the winter season - whether it's the machines or bodies they are trying to protect from the frigid temperatures.

“There’s very hot days and there’s very cold days and there’s certainly days in between but we have to adapt to whatever the outside temperature is,” Bill Jones, Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Perryville Fire Department, said.

As the temperature drops, Assistant Fire Chief Bill Jones said it's important to be prepared to respond to anything.

“There’s very few perfect days for firefighting," Jones said.

“While it can be miserable when it’s zero fighting a fire just for the simple fact that when the spray comes back of water it’s not going to be the spray of water that comes back and hits you it’s going to be sharp shards of ice," Jones said.

Fire departments face challenges in cold conditions to keep warm.

“My guys have come back with their face almost as red of the fire truck because of the water, freezing water and the chapping of the skin," Jones said.

And other issues like water freezing on the ground, lines going to the pump and fire hydrants freezing up and trying to respond on icy roads.

“Those are all problems that persist and have since fire services have been around and probably will be forever," Jones said.

Jones said firefighters can rehab in a vehicle, cover the ground with salt and wear additional layers. Having chains on the trucks also come in handy.

“But we take extra precautions, and we know what precautions to take winter or summer and that’s hopefully what’s going to protect our guys,” he said.

Jones said he’s had his fair share of falls on the ice while out on the job, but said his helmet and other equipment have kept him safe through the winter months.

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