South Bend firefighters battle blaze, cold temperatures

South Bend Water Works employees stopped at one fire hydrant after another along Main Street Tuesday.

Some of the fire hydrants were hidden by piles of snow.

While the downtown hydrants will be cleared in case of emergency, the same is not true for all residential streets.

Fire departments are asking residents to do their part in order to make sure emergency crews can get to essential resources.

"In a fire every second counts," said assistant fire chief John Corthier.

The statement rang true Tuesday morning as firefighters were called out to a blaze. The sub-zero temperatures meant added challenges.

"We were dealing with frozen lines," Corthier said. "Three fire trucks broke down at this fire. We had a problem with manpower."

The fire trucks were exposed to the frigid temperatures for about three hours before they started having issues. They were back in service about an hour later.

A TRANSPO bus was brought in to act as a warming station for the firefighters.

"We were rotating firefighters," Corthier said. "They go in the bus, come out and fight the fire."

Corthier said that there is no time to waste digging out fire hydrants while responding to an active situation.

"What we ask people to do, if they are able to shovel snow, is ot shovel their hydrant."

The best way to help out firefighters is shoveling from the fire hydrant to the street and three feet around the fire hydrant.

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