Firefighters keep cool in heat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters keep cool in heat

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Albany firefighters battled the heat and a house fire Wednesday afternoon.

An overheated air conditioner is blamed for starting this fire at a duplex in the 800 block of Cotton Avenue about 1:15.

The fire spread into the attic and also did damage to the other side of the duplex.

No one was home at the time of the fire. 

Firefighter Brian Murray had only three words to say when asked about battling flames in these extreme conditions.

"Hot! Very hot," said Murray.

Murray and 17 other firefighters were out today battling the fire on Cotton Avenue.

Michael Padgett says it takes a while for him to cool off even after he takes his suit off.

"I haven't cooled off. I've been back for thirty minutes and I still haven't cooled off yet," said Padgett.

The firefighters use anything to make sure they stay cool in the heat.

"We've got exhaust fans on the truck that we use to remove smoke form the houses. We actually had one of those set up on the curb just to generate some air because it's no breeze out there. We can't get any relief," said Padgett.

EMS was on the scene to help the firefighters.

After they're done battling the blazes they go through a "rehab" process.

"We have one person designated to set up water and Gatorade and cool rags to make sure they fighter fighters take their time out," said Deputy Fire Chief Ron Rowe.

Deputy Chief Ron Rowe says his men are in tip top shape but this extreme heat can bring down even the strongest firefighters if they're not careful.

"Little over a year ago we implemented a health and wellness program, which a lot of the employees benefited from it. Their stamina is a lot better but this heat will drain you. It doesn't matter what kind of shape you're in," said Deputy Chief Rowe.

The brave men say the temperature may be overbearing, but they know dealing with it is just one part of their lifesaving work.

Deputy Chief Rowe also said he encourages his men to drink plenty of fluids even on their off days.

The firefighters also had a tarp at the scene to provide them with shade where they could lay down and cool off in between rotations.

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