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Sub-zero weather created challenges for Farmington firefighters Jan. 2.

FFD battles flames, cold

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news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Independent
651-463-7730 customer support
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Bitter cold made the job more difficult than usual for Farmington firefighters when a car fire Jan. 2 in a garage at the Centennial Apartments.

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Firefighters had to deal with a frozen hydrant and work in shifts to give people a chance to warm up as they dealt with the fire, which broke out around 8 p.m.

“Just trying to get a water supply established we had a couple issues with the cold,” fire marshal John Powers said. “It’s just a problem with using water when it’s cold.”

Powers believes the fire was the result of an electrical problem in the engine compartment of a car. Four garage units were damaged by fire and two more suffered heat and smoke damage. There was a motorcycle in one of the units damaged by fire. A car parked in one of the other garages suffered heat damage but was removed before it caught fire.

The first hydrant firefighters tried to use was frozen, so they had to find another. And since standing water tends to freeze when the temperature hits 12 below zero, as it did that night, firefighters had to keep water flowing through their hoses to keep them from icing up. That made for icy conditions on the ground.

The cold is dangerous for firefighters, too. Powers said the 28 firefighters who responded worked in short shifts and took turns sitting inside their trucks to warm up.

Firefighters had the flames under control in about half an hour. If they had needed more time they would have gotten a heated tent, Powers said.

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Nathan Hansen
Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.
(651) 460-6606
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