How firefighters do their jobs in freezing temps

(ABC 6 News) – On Tuesday, Rochester Fire Department responded to two separate calls in Olmsted County. While both these fires were relatively small, they still proved challenging in the freezing temperatures.

The second fire happened at the Andover Park Apartments and broke out in a crawl space around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

But when it’s as cold as it is outside, it’s not just the fire first responders have to battle.

In weather this cold, firefighters need to take extra precautions. Not only with themselves but their use of water.

“Obviously water is great at putting out fire,” said RFD Captain Isaac Molin. “It freezes very quickly in these cold temps. It makes things more hazardous to us on scene. We just got to be extra careful about when we’re gripping our tools, our gloves start to freeze up. It presents challenges, we’re used to it, we work through it.”

That was the case Tuesday afternoon as crews responded to a fire at a southeast Rochester townhome complex.

“We found some active fire in a crawl space, that fire had an opportunity to slowly work its way up through some of the void spaces. So it took us a little longer time to try and track it down and make sure that everything was fully extinguished,” Molin said.

No one was injured, but the extent of the damages from the fire impacted multiple units.

While firefighters continue their investigation, it could be a while before residents can spend their nights in their homes.

“Because it was in some of those void spaces. It affected multiple units. We might have to shut down all the utilities so then it posses some challenges in terms of keeping the building heated where we don’t want certain pipes to freeze,” said Molin.