February 9, 2019 1:17 pm

Frigid temperatures prove difficult for Edmonton firefighters

WATCH: With temperatures near the -30 C mark, fighting fires can be difficult and dangerous. Edmonton crews were called to a house fire in the city's southeast on Saturday morning.

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With Edmonton in the midst of a week-long deep freeze, the frigid temperatures are proving to be a challenge for emergency crews who work outdoors.

Fire crews were called to a house fire in southeast Edmonton just after 2 a.m. Saturday when temperatures hovered around -29 C.

READ MORE: Most of Alberta won’t break free from Mother Nature’s icy grip this weekend


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The fire was contained to the basement and declared under control within half an hour of crews arriving on the scene, but firefighters said a second alarm was called to bring in more bodies to help battle the blaze amid the cold temperatures. Nine units were on the scene at the peak of the fire.

“It’s very cold, and you’ve got to keep water flowing or you’re going to freeze up the lines. It gets icy,” district Chief Ed Pitman said.

Beyond keeping the water flowing, decontaminating after the job is done can also be difficult in frigid temperatures. A warming tent was set up at the scene for firefighters.

“That’s been introduced by Edmonton Fire Rescue, just a recent thing where we have these warming tents where the guys can go in after they’ve been decontaminated, take their gear off, put it in bags and have it transported separate from the trucks,” Pitman explained.

READ MORE: Small act of kindness goes a long way during Edmonton’s cold snap

The fire at the house on Knottwood Road and 88 Street was called out at around 5 a.m. Three people were able to get out of the home before firefighters arrived on the scene.

The temperature is expected to reach -24 C for a high on Saturday before dipping to the -29 C or -30 C mark overnight. Sunday’s high is forecast to be -21 C in Edmonton.

An extreme cold warning remained in place for Edmonton and the majority of Alberta on Saturday.

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