Officials encourage safety amid oppressive heat

Officials encourage safety as oppressive heat remains in the area

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As flames shot up at a home on Greenforest Drive in Central overnight Sunday, Sept. 8, firefighters were not just battling the blaze, but also the intense heat.

“When the firefighters arrived, the flames were through the roof and they tried to make an interior attack and the floor started collapsing,” said Derek Glover, Central Fire spokesman.

Just after 11:30 Sunday night, all CFD companies along with an engine each from District Six and East Side responded to a working house fire on Greenforest. Crews initially attacked the fire from inside the home but were pulled out when conditions became too dangerous for interior operations. Firefighters transitioned to a “defensive attack” controlling the fire around 1:24 AM. The amount of fire, combined with the high temps and humidity, have taken a toll on firefighters, however there have been no injuries. The fire appeared to originate in the attic and an investigator is on scene. A second East Side engine and an engine from Zachary are covering two Central stations while a St George engine is covering an East Side Station.

Posted by Central Fire Department on Sunday, September 8, 2019

It took crews nearly two hours to tackle the fire, and Glover says the recent wave of high temperatures may be to blame.

Conditions became too dangerous for firefighters, and crews had to be pulled back.
Conditions became too dangerous for firefighters, and crews had to be pulled back. (Source: Central Fire Department)

“On these days when it’s 95 or 98 degrees and heat index is over 100 degrees, we try to rotate our crews out,” said Glover.

Not only do seconds matter in a situation like this, but the lives of those who rush in to help are also a high priority. Glover says their firefighters take a break every 13 minutes to make sure they are safe.

“Every 13 minutes they’ll come out, get some water, and rehydrate,” he explained.

The fire broke out just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8.
The fire broke out just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8. (Source: Central Fire Department)

The crews have a board that keeps them on track, and Glover says they also keep their trucks fully stocked with supplies to keep their guys cool during a fire fight. While the capital area tied record-breaking heat over the weekend, it’s also a good idea for folks to think about staying cool as well.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) encourages folks to drink plenty of water, wear light-weight, light-colored clothing, and try to stay inside as much as possible. Over at the LSU Lakes, Michael Zelden says he tries to keep those tips in mind.

“I walk around the golf course here almost every day for an hour or an hour and a half,” said Zelden.

Zelden says he tries to look for shade as much as possible on his daily journey to stay protected.

“That’s why I generally walk sometime after 4:30 p.m. in the afternoons now instead of 3 o’clock, so it makes it easier,” said Zelden.

It’s a smart tip that just might save lives in the extreme heat.

The amount of fire, combined with the high temperatures, took a toll on firefighters.
The amount of fire, combined with the high temperatures, took a toll on firefighters. (Source: Central Fire Department)

Anyone interested in more tips from LDH to beat the heat can find them here.

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