Cold weather makes fighting Naugatuck fire challenging

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) – An apartment building fire has displaced eight families in Naugatuck. Crews were called to the building on Horton Hill Road at around 6:30 on Saturday morning. Crews believe the fire started in a first floor unit.

Two people were taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation; one had a cut from breaking a window.

The heat from the flames was enough to melt the siding of the building. Neighbors could not believe how much smoke they saw.

“We’re hoping everyone is okay,” said Aaron Ewings, who lives nearby. “They were moving people over to the bank to keep everybody warm.”

It was the cold that was the hardest on the firefighters, however.

“You’re going into the building and working hard then you’re coming out and you’re getting chilled,” said Chief Ellen Murray of the Naugatuck Fire Department. “So fighting a fire in this type of weather is very difficult.”

Fire hydrants don’t always work properly when it is extremely cold outside and other gear can freeze too.
That’s what happened to some of the hoses, and firefighters had to keep the water on – even when they weren’t using it. The water on the ground froze almost immediately. Even though crews put salt down, several firefighters slipped.

“You’re carrying heavy equipment and carrying it on top of ice makes it harder,” said Murray.

Just walking outside wasn’t easy, and firefighters had to be careful going in and out of the building.
Working outside for hours in the extreme cold was tough, but firefighters took it in stride.

“We know what we sign up for when we take this job,” said Second Assistant Chief Paul Russell of the Naugatuck Fire Department. “Sometimes we have fires in this extreme cold. We just do our best.”

The American Red Cross is now helping the families that have been displaced. The fire is still under investigation.

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