Firefighters battle extreme heat to save Aiken County homes

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

They're trained to save lives and put out fires...but on a day like Thursday, it was just as important to look out for their own safety.

There were fires on both sides of the river Thursday.

One of them happened in Aiken County. A brush fire spread to two sheds, endangering nearby homes.

It happened in the 300 block of Sudlow Lake Road, where firefighters battled the blaze while braving extreme elements.

News 12's Kate Tillotson is On Your Side with how firefighters are trained to handle the heat.

Firefighters compare fire temperatures to touching an oven.

And on a day with temperatures of nearly 100 degrees, they were taking extra care to stay safe.

You could tell just by looking at the firefighters that the heat was taking a toll.

"Heavy sweat, loss of breath," said Nicholas Barton of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department.

They're signs that water is needed for more than just fighting flames.

With near 100 degree temperatures, emergency crews were cooking.

Multiple coolers filled with water and Gatorade helped keep the firefighters hydrated. And with 50 pounds of equipment, that's important.

"It's pretty hot," said Henry Carlin of the Langley Fire Department. "It's basically dealing with the heat itself and the flames. You know, you got double the heat, and the flames are a lot hotter than the heat-wise anyway."

For over an hour, firefighters from six departments sweated it out, extinguishing stubborn hot spots.

The flames destroyed the two sheds.

"When we got here we actually thought we had a structure with a victim trapped inside, but thank God it was just the shed right beside it," Carlin said.

And thanks to extra liquids and frequent breaks, firefighters avoided heat exhaustion.

"What do you do to beat the heat?" we asked.

"Try to get this gear off as soon as possible," Barton replied.

"Just stay hydrated and strip down. Like I say, we was wearing pants and hat, you know, keep as much clothes off as possible," Carlin said.

To err on the side of caution, there was an ambulance on stand-by incase one of the firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion. Thankfully, it was not needed, and there were no injuries reported as a result of this fire.


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