Henrico firefighters battle two-alarm blaze and heat

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The hot temperatures took their toll on firefighters battling a house fire at 8500 Rolando Drive in the West End. The fire was actually bumped up to a two-alarm; not because of the size of the fire, but because of the extreme heat. But luckily, there was a plan in place for battling both.

The first units responding to the fire on Rolando Drive were greeted by heavy fire and temperatures already in the nineties.

"The incident commander has to call for a lot of resources to back these people up- get them out of the fire line, get them away from the incident and rehabilitate them," said Henrico Fire Chief Rocky Hudson.

In all, seven engine companies were called to the fire. They took turns battling the blaze-- one crew would go in, while another would come out to rest.

"It becomes an issue of time and temperature, and the amount of work we're asking them to do," Hudson said.

The stress and fatigue were evident on some firefighters' faces. While they rested in the shade, EMT's came around, checking blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs. Some firefighters were put back into the rotation, while others were sent back to the station, so they could be ready for the next call.

"Any type of fire- whether it's a brush fire, car fire, or structure fire- will be tough for us to handle in this heat," said Hudson.

Through it all, the firefighters did their best to stay hydrated-- perhaps the most important thing for anyone working outside in triple digit temperatures.

"Water's the best thing for us," Hudson added.

We're told the one person who lives in the house is safe, uninjured, and has a place to stay tonight. Fire investigators were looking at an electrical issue as a possible cause for this fire, but no word yet on an exact cause.

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