Weekend Fires, Extreme Cold Puts Halifax County Firefighters On Alert
Halifax Co., VA - Halifax County First Responders were called to three different fires throughout the county this weekend, and they worry what's next.
Many of the firefighters know their jobs could get a lot harder with the dangerously cold weather.
When Chief Michael Harris and his crew arrived at a home on Cluster Springs Road early Sunday morning, it was engulfed in flames.
"We actually ran out of water and before the next department could get there, it blazed back up a second time, " Harris said.It took eight fire departments to put out the flames, and the rubble is still smoking.
Harris hopes it isn't a sign of what's to come in the next few days.
"When the weather gets cold like this, a lot of people start bringing in unsafe heating elements into the house and our call volume starts to go up, " Harris said.
When the weather gets cold, fighting fires can become very difficult.
Deputy Emergency Services Coordinator Chad Loftis says firefighters add layers and keep extra air packs on hand, but factors like freezing water and lack of steam production create other roadblocks.
"Normally the steam would penetrate areas not seen, and that's not the case when it's extremely cold, " Loftis said.
The best way to avoid a difficult situation for everyone is to take precautions to keep a fire from starting in your home, but if you do feel like something isn't right, don't wait to call 911.
"As long as the fires are within the building, it makes it a whole lot easier. It changes everything once it's in the extreme, freezing weather, " Loftis said.
All three fires from the weekend are still under investigation. Investigators believe the blaze on Cluster Springs Road could be electrical.
Only one fire which started in an abandoned building in South Boston is believed to be suspicious.