Freezing temps bring headaches to Western Mass firefighters - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Freezing temps bring headaches to Western Mass firefighters

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Mother Nature is not cooperating with Western Mass firefighters.

"It's just tough to work around," said Palmer Fire Department Chief Alan Roy.

"These conditions are just brutal," said Conway Fire Department Chief Robert Baker.

The subzero temperatures mixed in with remnants of a snowstorm made it nearly impossible for them to do their jobs.

A fire first broke out at a Central Street home in Palmer just before 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Although it was a small basement fire with minimal damage, Roy said the weather creates hazardous conditions for his firefighters.
"It becomes a problem, a freezing problem. You know, us dealing with water it becomes a slipping hazard, fall hazard," said Roy.

And in Conway, two adults and six children are now homeless after their Main Poland Road home went up in flames around 4 p.m. Friday.

Fire crews from several surrounding towns were called in and faced the same problems as in Palmer.

"My two trucks up there behind the garage are frozen solid," said Baker.

The house sat about 400 feet from the road. Snow banks created obstacles for firefighters to get to it on time.  

Baker continued to say the plummeting temperatures did not make it any easier to get water to the house.

"Any of the trucks that have been here pumping water or are trying to pump water have frozen up, it's just a disaster," explained Baker.

He said all considering, he's still proud of the work done by his team.

"They may have some skin damage, some frost bite, but other than that they've done very well. They haven't had any injuries and everything's gone good so far," said Baker.

In both cases, everyone was able to make it out uninjured.

A litter of puppies was lost in the Conway home fire.

The Red Cross is assisting both families.

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