Extreme heat challenges Chicago firefighters at 2-alarm fire in Gresham neighborhood

July 19, 2013 9:38:30 AM PDT
The Chicago Fire Department brought in extra-crews to battle a fire at a vacant house during the extreme heat.

The extra-alarm fire broke out Friday morning in the Gresham neighborhood on the city's South Side. No one was injured, but with the soaring temperatures, the blaze presented a challenge to firefighters. They fought back with extra water for drinking and more manpower.

"Getting fresh people in to help fight the fire. It takes time to get them here, get dressed, get in there, fight the fire," Battalion Chief Derrick Hunter said.

"It's pretty intense," Lt. Thomas Healy, CFD Engine 73, said. "I had over 1500 degrees on my TIC (thermal imaging camera) camera. That's hot. Real hot."

During extreme heat, a volunteer group called the 5-11 Club helps keep firefighter hydrated and energized on the scene.

"I've been in public safety for 40 years. I'm a retired police officer, and I'm giving back to my brothers and sisters who are still out on the lines," Jim Mitidiero, 5-11 Club, said.

Residents in the area near the burning house say water pressure from fire hydrants may have been compromised by others opening them to cool off.

"It came out in spurts, shot maybe to the roof, then it went all the way back down," Gregory Lynwood said.

"It came out in spurts, shot maybe to the roof [and], then it went all the way back down," Gregory Lynwood said of the water.

The fire was struck around 7:30 a.m.