Crews battle Milwaukee apartment fire Tuesday

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 23:41:20-05

MILWAUKEE- It's hard work any day of the year, but dangerously low temperatures make it even more difficult for firefighters to do their job.

"Firefighters are cold, but this is something that we're use to that's why we get extra personnel automatically with these conditions," explained Batallion Chief Kenten Kais, Milwaukee Fire Department.

An extra engine and truck were sent to help firefighters put out an apartment fire at 39th Street and Hopkins Street in Milwaukee Tuesday evening.  Close to 25 people are displaced.  One person was treated for minor injuries.  The Batallion Chief says a space heater was found near furniture in the unit most heavily damaged.  

In West Allis Tuesday afternoon firefighters put out an electrical fire at a home near 76th Street and Becher Street.  The Assistant Fire Cheif says crews can't work as long in the cold.

"At a typical fire they works two to three different cycles before we have to relieve them, but in this cold we let them work one cycle and then we replace them," said Assistant Fire Chief Jay Scharfenberg, West Allis.

A firefighter's most valuable tool can be their worst enemy on a day like today.  

"When you're flowing water that's automatically a problem.  We get water on ourselves, we turn in basically to a human popsicle," said Kaid.

The water affects conditions as well.

"The slipperiness of the street, the hydrants sometimes freeze up and then all of a sudden we lose water."

Despite all these factors, firefighters aren't letting the cold get in the way of their job.