Firefighters Battle Elements - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Firefighters Battle Elements

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The contrast of the Chateau Apartments fire in below zero temperatures challenged firefighters on scene this morning.

Jennifer Thorgramson tells us about battling conditions along with the blaze.

In the heat of the moment, firefighters leap into action.

Even when temperatures work against equipment, freezing in the tracks of manpower on scene.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "It's hard work dragging that hose through snow and up icy slopes."

Firefighters were slipping into position at the Chateau Apartment fire Thursday morning, in some cases hoses were frozen to the ground behind them.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "Normally if you can keep the water flowing it's not going to freeze. In some cases they were buried in ice. In some cases in the past we've had ladders freeze in the air that we couldn't get down."

Over-spray clings to every surface, including firefighters, which is as much a problem in the weight as the cold.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "The men themselves, we can stay pretty warm inside our coats and boots, they're well insulated. Once you get covered with ice and you're carrying a lot of that extra weight and you have an SCBA tank on, it gets a little harder to carry all of that."

Water rushes from the fire to the street.

At one point there was concern about frozen storm sewers and flooding under the 16th Street Underpass.

Minot City Street Director Rick Hair says construction covers were in place on 16th Street and easily removed.

City crews remained on site to remove snow from the storm sewers and sand roads as the firefighters backed off from the smoldering fire.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "When they were leaving, they were covered with ice. In some cases what we do is we send them right into a hot shower to thaw them out because you can't get it off. We have spare sets of dry gear, coffee, get ready to get going again."

There was no rest for the weary.

Those back at the station were reloading engines.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "This isn't the only thing we can have happen right now."

Hocking says fighting fire with ice is certainly a challenge, but fire in heat is equally dangerous.

(John Hocking, Battalion Chief Minot Fire Department) "It seems that maybe they just stick in our head more because of the environment. We have a lot of fires in the heat which can be inclement weather for us too."

Firefighters battled the blaze that blocked out the sunrise on a frosty winter morning.

In Minot, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

The entire staff of firefighters got called out for this battle - and they were needed too because there were several reports of secondary fires that had to be checked out in the early hours of the fire - before the sun rose today.

The firefighters assigned to watch the site will be battling some bitter cold overnight.

Tim is here with a first look at the forecast...

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