LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Firefighters across Western New York had a more difficult time doing their jobs on Friday, dealing with the cold, wind and bitter temperatures.
Multiple fires broke out across the area. Battling fires can present several challenges, but extreme weather conditions, like the Arctic blast, makes it more difficult. Hoses and nozzles can freeze. Firefighters also get fatigued faster, meaning crews have to rotate in.
“In firefighting, minutes matter so every little thing adds up by the end of the incident,” Luca Quagliano, City of Lockport Fire Chief, said. “Your body’s using that much more energy just to keep warm and on top of that performing all the duties of the job itself.”
His department responded to 73 Price Street and 5777 Sweetwood Drive Friday morning.
On Price Street, Chief Quagliano says crews were dispatched just after 3 a.m. to the home. The occupants of the home were able to evacuate with their dog.
The blaze caused approximately $40,000 in damage to the interior of the home and backside of the structure.
There is no official cause for the fire, but investigators suspect it was an electrical issue.
At approximately 7 a.m., police and fire units responded to the scene of an apartment on Sweetwood Drive after a 911 call stated there was a fire inside the building.
According to authorities, flames and heavy smoke were seen inside the building.
Authorities say one occupant was transported to ECMC with non-life threatening burns and all other occupants were evacuated without injuries.
The frigid temperatures caused some of the City of Lockport Fire Department’s gear to freeze due to the short turn around between calls.
“Hydrants freeze, hoses freeze. We have to make sure we are mindful of what the temperature is and how to actively operate our equipment to keep it flowing the water,” Chris McClune, South Lockport Fire Department Chief, said.
In South Buffalo, fire fighters responded to a fire on Pomeroy Street. They say the fire causes hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Departments have to take extra safety measures on scene during intense weather. In extreme cold, they sometimes call in salt trucks to eliminate ice or the water department in case a hydrant is frozen.
“When we are spraying water in zero degrees weather, five degree weather, we are definitely causing a larger hazzard for slip and fall injuries and equipment failures,” McClune added.
Chief Quagliano says fires are more likely during the colder months because of the extra heating inside buildings.
“Not just space heaters but any other type of accessory heating, fireplaces, just the fact that the furnace is running that much more too,” Chief Quagliano concluded.
The families affected by both fires in Lockport are being assisted by the Red Cross.