Fighting fires in freezing cold a frustrating, dangerous job

By KBJR News 1

December 30, 2013 Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 11:36 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - The Superior Fire Department says winter is by far the hardest fire season for the Northland. Many things can go wrong battling a blaze in sub-zero temperatures.

The main difficulty is blocked access to structures. When people do not shovel their sidewalks, it makes a firefighter's job that much more difficult.

Large icicles and snow chunks also pose a hazard to firefighters as they melt and fall from a burning structure.

Another problem during extreme cold is hoses freezing up.

Firefighters leave the hoses running to avoid freezing, but that puts water on the ground, which then freezes and causes a big mess for the community.

The Superior Battalion Chief says snow wreaks havoc on everything firefighters are trying to do.

"You gotta worry about getting the building shut up after you're done so it doesn't freeze. The footing is terrible out here. Just everything about fighting a fire in the winter is tough," said Chief Steve Edwards.

The hydrants can also freeze causing further frustration.

The Superior Fire Department rotates their crews in and out of fires to avoid frostbite. The department also has a trailer where workers can warm up.

Billy Wagness