ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – It was a rough morning for Royal Oak firefighters battling not only a house fire in the 13 Mile/Rochester Road area but also zero-degree temperatures.

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey, Fire Chief Chuck Thomas said they also have to deal with fatigue from the cold that requires them to rotate fire crews so personnel can get a break.

“We have to worry about the house lines freezing; we have to worry about the firefighters getting frost-bitten. They’re going to get wet from the fire [hose] and then come outside and get cold,” Thomas said.

“Anything below 32 degrees is tough on the firefighters … They’re getting weaker now, you can see it on their faces. Their faces are red; they’re sweating,” he said.

Thomas said they also have to worry about ice on the equipment and slip and fall accidents.  He said, in the past, they’ve had to send crews back to the scene the next day to chip hoses out of the frozen ground..

No one was hurt in Tuesday morning’s fire.

At least 30 Michigan school districts canceled classes as sub-zero temperatures gripped the state.  Forecasters say we won’t be back above freezing for most of the week. Temperatures are expected in the single digits tomorrow. (Read more here).


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