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Firefighters battle flames, extreme temperatures during house fire

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 07 2014 07:07:09 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 07 2014 08:48:16 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The dangerously cold conditions complicated efforts to put out a house fire in Bozeman.

Firefighters battled the fire on Peach Street through the night Thursday and were on scene through Friday.

Thursday night's subzero temperatures caused firefighters to battle not only flames, but extreme temperatures as well.

"It definitely makes it a lot harder to deal with," explained Bozeman Fire Battalion Chief Mark Criner. "You've got a lot of other things to think about."

The fire broke out on the 600-block of Peach Street around 9 p.m. Thursday. More than 12 hours later, the home was still smoldering.

"We have to keep the hoses running so that the water doesn't freeze," Criner said.

Overnight temperatures dropped to around minus 20. Temperatures that cold do not just freeze the water hoses.

"Also, we had concerns of the gelling of the diesel fuel in the trucks," he said.

Criner said it was so cold, they had to rotate the trucks back to the station to warm up. But the equipment was not the only issue.

"Also the freezing of the firefighters," he said.

A nearby business assisted, keeping its doors open to help firefighters stay warm, and even ordered them pizza.

"It would be dependent on what was going on with the fire, so all of a sudden they would all go out and then take turns coming in," said Kietra Nelson, who works in the building and stayed late to help out.

"I was here until about 1 in the morning," she said, "they were here all night."

Criner said the firefighters are grateful for the hospitality that made a very tough job just a little easier.

"We could rotate firefighters in to get warm and dried off, so we could keep rotating crews so they didn't get cold and hurt," he explained.

No one was injured in the fire, but the home is a total loss.