Firefighters battle first home fire in cold temperatures in Angelina County

Firefighters battle first home fire in cold temperatures in Angelina County
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - With the frigid temperatures, many in East Texas are choosing to stay inside. However, for firefighters, it's their duty to battle blazes no matter what the circumstance.

"It's really not that often that we have to deal with weather this cold," said Jim Williams, a volunteer firefighter with the Central Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire department was called out to the first blaze of the New Year in Angelina County on Monday.

"We got a call the call about seven minutes after midnight," said Dennis Cochran, the Central VFD chief.

These are temperatures they're not accustomed to handling on a day-to-day basis.

"It's probably between two or three years since we've had one this cold during a structure fire," Cochran said.

The temperature was at 32 degrees, the same point at which water freezes, which heightened the already dangerous situation of putting out the fire.

"When it comes to a real cold weather fire like this, it may be slips and falls," Cochran said.

This adds to the other things the fire chief is managing while crews tame the fire.

"What I worry about is my firemen. Safety. It's a dangerous job that we do, and there's always something that can happen so that's my number one concern," Cochran said.

Cochran has 32 years of experience battling fires. He said it's rare to work in temperatures this low, but his motto is to be always prepared.

"We've had them before where there were icicles forming on the steps and side of our trucks. It's been so cold, and ground freeze over while you're standing on it. We're used to it. Just not in Texas a whole lot," Cochran said.

All this poses new challenges which rarely occur in the southern part of the country.

"Hard to get the trucks in and out. It's 10 times more difficult because you're having to beat ice off of what you're doing. Got ice on you. Just physically demanding," Williams said.

The fire chief said even though putting out a fire can be exhausting, he prefers the cold temperatures over grueling summer months.

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