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Butte firefighters fight fires and cold temperatures

frozen firefighter.jpg
Posted at 6:02 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 12:52:10-05

BUTTE — Fighting a fire is hard work. But fighting fires in subfreezing temperatures adds another level of difficulty.

For Butte firefighters, just getting to the fire on snow- and ice-covered roads can be dangerous.

“But once we get off those routes, it takes us a little longer navigating those side streets and maybe up someone’s driveway, so just even getting to the scene is going to be a little bit slower,” said Capt. Chad Silk of the Butte Fire Department.

Firefighters from Butte helped Jefferson County firefighters with a structure fire in a rural area this week in which temperatures dropped to 15 below zero. This can cause equipment failures, as well as firefighters literally coming frozen inside their protective gear.

“Fingers will freeze, toes will freeze and then just the whole ensemble of the firefighting gear will freeze to where it’s hard to do basic maneuvers like bend down or to lift your arms up, so what we’ll do at that point is send the firefighter back to the station to thaw out,” said Silk.

When firefighters get the call, they’re going to go no matter what, but on these brutally cold winter days, there are a few things the public can do to make their job a little bit easier.

“Making sure we have an easy address that we can see at night and if there are hydrants in front of your house or close to your house make sure they’re dug out and that the snow is away from them so one, we can see then and two, we can operate them once we are on scene,” said Silk.