Extreme heat affects firefighters

Sunday, July 27th 2008, 7:20 pm
By: News 9

by Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -The triple digit heat has taken a dangerous toll on firefighters when several homes caught fire in Edmond and Oklahoma City Sunday afternoon.

One of the homes that caught fire was off of NW 38 Street in the 1900 block. It was 99 degrees when firefighters arrived to extinguigh the fire inside the home.

Along with high tempertaures, the high heat index plus the 50 to 60 pounds of gear that firefighters wear, is putting them at risk for heat cramps, heat stoke and heat exhaustion.

It's a very dangerous situation for firefighters and that's why they take no chances in this kind of weather.

EMSA is asked to stand-by near the fire in case something happens. Paramedics also set up rehab areas to hand out bottles of water and to check the vital signs of the firefighters who are battling both the heat from the fire in the home and the heat outside in the sun.

"It's something we do when the heat index gets up in the 90s to 100s," Chief Glenn Clark of the Oklahoma City Fire Department said. "It's extremely hot and if we don't keep the guys hydrated they'll tire out before the shift is over with."

Nobody was in the house at 1901 NW 38 Street when the fire started.

Investigators said it appears the cause was an electrical short in an A/C unit that was located in the back of the home.