Firefighters battle blazing house fire in icy weather - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters battle blazing house fire in icy weather

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) –Firefighters in Worth County spent more than four hours battling a blazing house fire just inside of Gordy early Monday morning. Unfortunately, the home was a complete loss. Firefighters say fighting a fire like this one was challenging on its own but the weather conditions made the situation even more difficult.

The mist from the water hose, coupled with rain and freezing temperatures formed ice on firefighters uniforms and then the heat from the fire ended up melting that ice on their clothing.

Whether its in the extreme heat, or freezing cold, a fire fighter's mission remains the same; to save lives and if possible, save a home. "It's tough, but we work around it cause its what we love," said Captain Thomas Whittington, Worth Co. Fire and Rescue.

This morning firefighters in Worth County had more challenges than normal on their hands...battle a blazing house fire, in icy conditions. "It is tough to fight a fire when you are miserable," said Firefighter Brian Bernard.

Around 4:30am , they were called to the fire off of 1706 Massey Airport Road in Gordy. "They had a gas grill on the back porch with propane tanks, they were going off plus ammunition in the house also going off, so it was pretty interesting to start with," said Bernard.

The couple living at the home heard the fire alarm and called 911. Everyone got out safely, but by the time firefighters got to the scene flames were racing through the house, fanned by the wind.

But in addition to putting out the fire, the icy weather was hard to ignore. "We get a layer of ice on us and the ice thaws out so we get wet internally, then we get cold down to the bone until we cant get warm anymore," said Bernard.

Firefighters say the mist from the hose, coupled with the rain formed layers of ice on their uniforms adding weight, and making it difficult to move. "If you get into a fire truck to get warm, it actually thaws more ice out on you so you get wetter," said Bernard.

"You are sweating, your inner liner gets wet and when you get into the heat inside this house its just like being inside of a sauna. You have to be very careful because you could get steam burns," said Whittington.

And with no fire hydrants in the county, firefighters shuttled water back and forth to the scene."Shuttling water back and forth was slow because of the road conditions," said Bernard.

Firefighters believe the fire was caused by a space heater, warming a family pet on the back porch.

Firefighters don't know exactly how the space heater caught fire, but they say in most cases like this, a family pet knocks it over or in this situation the space heater may have been knocked over from the wind.

They say if you do use a space heater, make sure it is secure, also make sure there are no wires or any flammable materials near the space heater. Ideally, place your space heater on concrete to avoid troubles.

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