Henrietta, N.Y. (WROC) — The stretch of hot weather we’ve seen is challenging for many who work outdoors, especially those who fight fires.
Crews responded to Valiant Drive in Henrietta Saturday night for the reports of a structure fire as temperatures neared the 90s.
“It was a very labor-intensive fire. The summer has been very hot and very dry. In this case, the humidity was close to 100 percent,” said Mark Cholach, chief of the Henrietta Fire Department.
With equipment weighing 100 pounds, Cholach said the hot conditions are as much of a physical test as a mental one.
Additional agencies were called in, Cholach said, not only to help knock down the flames, but relieve some of the crews.
“We’re going to rotate crews out a lot more frequently which requires more manpower. In 95 degrees, it’s more labor intensive than a fire at 30 degrees,” said Jeff Blair, a community risk reduction specialist for the Henrietta Fire Department.
On top of keeping hydrated, firefighters also use air cylinders to cool down. The chief said they get used quickly.
“On a regular fire, or a routine bread and butter job, our personnel could probably go through two air cylinders before they have to go through rehab,” said Cholach.
Cholach said Monroe County is fortunate to have the extra resources in a time of need.
“You’re working for 20 minutes and then you’re on break for 20 minutes. You can imagine how quickly the manpower has to add up just so that we keep our people safe,” said Cholach.
The chief added that a majority of the fires, seen at least in the Henrietta district this summer, are due to the fact that it’s been so dry.
Fire crews also continue to stress the importance of keeping working smoke detectors installed, to call 9-1-1 immediately in the event of a fire, and have an exit strategy prepared.
The cause of Saturday’s fire is still undetermined.