SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – A winter wonderland it’s not; as firefighters battled a blaze at an abandoned bungalow in brutally cold temps Friday afternoon.

Southfield firefighters worked at the scene of a suspicious blaze off of Eight Mile road on Westhaven as hoses spraying spitting ice and powder snow filled the freezing air.

Firefighters on the scene of a house fire. (Credit: Kathryn Larson/WWJ)

Firefighters on the scene of a house fire. (Credit: Kathryn Larson/WWJ)

WWJ’s Kathryn Larson reports on how the cold snap impacted their fight.

Firefighters dealt with pools of thick ice – putting kitty litter on top of grass and gravel – as firefighters’ suits — coated in thick frozen slush chunks – added to the task of taming the flames.

Southfield Fire Chief Keith Rowley says flames were through the roof when they arrived on scene.

“The season, this is the busy season for fires,” said Rowley. “This weather is brutal on operations. It’s tough on our firefighters – they are completely encased in ice now after battling this fire.”

“We have to be very careful to keep water moving in the hose lines because the hose lines and the pumps on the engine will freeze pretty quickly.”

Firefighters discovered the closest fire hydrant frozen solid, so they relied on their tank, and hose lines that will take hours to thaw.

“These type of days firefighters are extremely tired – worn out by the end of the day, because they do a lot of hard physical work all day long,” he said.

Rowley says with weather like this — he makes sure he spaces his firefighters out and doesn’t hesitate to use overtime backup.


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