Summer Temps Cause Firefighters Fight Battle on Two Fronts - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/5/03

Summer Temps Cause Firefighters Fight Battle on Two Fronts

Swirling, roaring, the orange-red wall dwarfed the first fireman on the scene. The cause of the fire unknown, but the heat it produced never in question. "It's very uncomfortable," said Lt. Shaun Fogerson, one of 28 firefighters who tackled the flames, the heat, and the weather. "We have to take extraordinary measures to look out for our safety and health," he said.

Heat is already a natural enemy of a firefighter. Temperatures inside Tuesday's blaze ranged anywhere from 500 to 1,500 degrees. Add to that at least 50 pounds of equipment in 100 degree weather, and the men are battling a blaze inside an oven.

"Usually we try to get out within 15 to 20 minutes," said Fogerson. Once outside, they report to a rehabilitation station. "We have a mist system, kind of like you see on the NFL sidelines. We have cool vests that are filled with gel that is super cool that sucks the heat away from our body. Lots of cold water and we stay in the shade," he said.

Before being released back to duty, vital signs are taken as a precaution. "I'll tell you, the temperature is 100 degrees out here, and our guys did an excellent job in knocking the fire down," said Deputy Chief Rhea Cooper.

Fortunately, no firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion in Tuesday's  .

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