Heat exhaustion struck several firefighters on Tuesday
GREENFIELD, MA - Heat exhaustion was the enemy as firefighters from three states fought a two-alarm structure fire on Elm Street while the air temperature Tuesday afternoon hovered near a very humid hundred degrees.
No one was hurt by the fire but one of the homeowners was transported to the hospital for heat related issues and multiple firefighters ended up being treated at the scene for heat exposure as well.
Greenfield Fire Captain Andrew Garvin was in command of the incident and said that the first arriving duty crew led by Captain John Whitney initially encountered heavy fire on the first, second, and third floors and throughout the attic space of the large brick single-family home.
Whitney called a second alarm and eventually more than 15 regional fire departments responded to help Greenfield. A half-dozen Vermont fire departments, including Brattleboro, Guilford, Vernon, and Westminister, sent engines and manpower to the scene and to cover the town's central fire station while several New Hampshire fire departments also sent manpower and equipment to Elm Street.
"Because of the extreme heat we requested additional resources because the crews were experiencing heat exhaustion and we needed to rehab them," Garvin explained, noting that a large specialized truck equipped with extra water and air conditioning was also sent by the state of Massachusetts to help cool down and treat firefighters.
Greenfield Housing Authority Executive Director Dan Finn, whose organization owns the home at 94 Elm Street, said that seven people lived there: an older couple, their two adult children and three young children.
"We've rented a couple of rooms for them at the Hampton Inn and they will be staying for at least the next couple of nights until we can find something more permanent," Finn said.
Fire officials said there was no immediate word as to what caused the fire to break out at around 3:30 p.m. but as of 5:30 p.m. the situation was under control and representatives from the state fire marshal's office were on the scene beginning an investigation to try and determine how the intense blaze had begun.
Drinking water was stashed everywhere around the fire scene as crews struggled with the ongoing heat wave
Firefighters climb a charred wooden fire escape along the side of the building
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