Harvey firefighter hurt in house fire; hydrants freeze

HARVEY, Ill. -- Tuesday's deep freeze caused hydrants and pumps to freeze solid as firefighters battled flames and smoke pouring out of a home in south suburban Harvey.

Dozens of firefighters and equipment from several areas were called to the scene in the 16400-block of Emerald Avenue to help fight a blaze that broke out around 2:30 a.m.

Firefighters faced several challenges, including subzero temperatures, ice on the ground and frozen fire hydrants and engine pumps. Since the water wasn't easily accessible, the fire quickly spread out of control.

As a result of the extreme cold, a third alarm was called to ensure there was enough manpower to rotate firefighters every 20 minutes, said Sean Howard, a spokesman for the city of Harvey.

A firefighter slipped and injured his back while battling the blaze, the fire department said. He was taken in good condition to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey. No other injuries were reported, the fire department said.

As of 6:40 a.m., the fire was almost completely struck out, Howard said. The fire did not spread to neighboring properties.

The homeowners were on vacation at the time of the fire, and no one was inside the home, Howard said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, Howard said.