Firefighters battle more than just flames

Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Firefighters across the Panhandle are facing extreme challenges this week. With temperatures this low... We're talking wind chills in the -25 degree range, a trek to the car from the grocery store can seem painful, but imagine battling a fire in this deep freeze.

It's a harsh reality for our local firefighters, as they try to balance getting families out of burning houses alive, while making sure they themselves stay alive as well.

Chief Richard Lake with the Potter County Fire Department says, "in this weather it takes very little time for a cold exposure to become a major problem when a firefighter is wet and they come back outside and get exposed to the temperature, they literally freeze up."

And that's just the beginning of their problems... Since everything they do revolves around water, once it dips below 32 degrees, the pipes in the truck start to freeze meaning they can't pump at full capacity.

That is, if they can pump at all, since the water in the hoses often starts to freeze, and the fire hydrants they get water from often freeze as well.

On top of that, wet hoses can easily freeze to the ground or worse... Freeze to the firefighter's gloves.