Extreme cold problematic for firefighters

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Sub-zero temperatures were problematic for firefighters on Monday, making once routine fires a hassle to put out.

In Mount Healthy, firefighters are held hostage by the cold.

"Due to the weather and the wind, it was a very stubborn fire," explains Steve Lawson of the Mount Healthy Fire Department.

Crews battled cold throughout the day. Cold that made traditional firefighting nearly impossible.

"It's that cold out right now that any water that is on our gear is going to freeze in a matter of minutes," says Lawson.

Firefighters used exhaust pipes to heat up gloves, a Metro bus to stay warm and worked in shifts with three other companies to knock down a fire. Any other the day, the fire may have been routine.

Foam was even used to battle the blaze.

"Foam penetrates deeper into the material and it sticks to the material so it actually helps to keep it out," says Lawson.

For firefighters across the area, the deep freeze set in early.

"Once you take it off, you're frozen. As you can see, this is, this is completely ice," says Amos Johnson of the Forest Park Fire Department.

Heavy smoke and flames took out six homes Monday morning in Forest Park as firefighters worked through the cold and high winds.

One firefighter even slipped on the ice and got hurt.

"It's just a continuous process. Our hydrant is frozen, and things of that nature," explains Johnson. "It didn't freeze, but all of our hose, we couldn't even load back on the truck because it was frozen."

Back in Mount Healthy, the homeowner escaped. However, the house is at a total loss.

Fire crews received assistance keeping warm from American Red Cross as they battled the blaze.

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