How firefighters battle fire and ice

How firefighters battle fire and ice »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Keeping the water from changing to ice is key when putting out fires in weather like this.

"Fire trucks all carry water in them and that water has to be continually circulated. If it's not circulated it will freeze," says Boise Fire Department Division Chief Paul Roberts.

If this happens, the truck becomes useless. That goes for the water in the hoses as well, which need to have water moving through them or else they will simply stop working.

Although its just one more thing fire crews have to think about on the scene of a fire, at least keeping their water supply from turning to ice is something they can control. Once it leaves their hose, it's out of their hands.

While they are spraying the building trying to put the fire out the water coats surfaces such as ladders. It quickly freezes and changes to ice which can make for a very dangerous situation for a fireman climbing a ladder.

Ice tends to accumulate around the fire engine too, making this heavily trafficked area an injury waiting to happen. Ice even builds up on the firefighters.

"Their gear will tend to freeze up. Their gloves will start to freeze up. If you watch us on a fire ground in cold weather operations you'll see ice developing on our equipment," says Roberts.

In order to combat these problems, Boise Fire sends extra people. This makes everyone busier this time of year and can lead to further exhaustion in an already stressful job.