Reporting Chris Simon
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Roofers, contractors, landscapers and gardeners may get the day off when it gets too hot, but firefighting is among the few outdoor professions that don’t have that luxury.
So when the call came in at about 4:50 a.m. Thursday of a major house fire at the corner of Colfax Avenue and 29th Avenue North, the Minneapolis Fire Department threw everyone it had available. It was also the second fire at this address in six hours. At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters had been called to put out a minor electrical fire.
The intensity of the fire played a role, however, Deputy Chief Todd Steinhilber told WCCO Radio the main issue was the outside heat as Minnesota battles the triple-digit heat wave this week.
Steinhilber wanted to rotate his firefighters out of the hot zones quickly and frequently because the temperature under their fire suits can easily exceed 110 degrees.
“The biggest obstacle today has been the heat,” Steinhilber said. “We’ve had to rotate them out of there quickly.”
Firefighters not on the line were huddled around fans and coolers stocked with water bottles and Gatorade.
Some were even hunched over, with ice cold towels around their necks, trying to cool down.
“I am happy I just run the hoses up and down to them,” one firefighter said. “This weather is bad enough. I would hate to have to get into one of those suits and have to get up close.”
Steinhilber said the reason there were no injuries on Thursday morning is the residents were staying with friends due to the first fire.
“We are trying now to see if the two (fires) are connected,” he said.
There is no fire damage to the bottom floor of the home, only the top front of the house was gutted by blaze.