Huntsville Fire responds to 'total loss' Levert Street structure fire

WAAY 31 learned because of the heat, fire crews made sure they had extra manpower so no one got overheated.

Posted: Jul 5, 2019 11:56 AM
Updated: Jul 5, 2019 5:08 PM

A fire at vacant home in Huntsville is under investigation.

Huntsville Fire and Rescue spent hours Friday afternoon working to put it out. It happened on Levert Street in Huntsville, right off Oakwood Avenue near Interstate 565.

WAAY 31 learned because of the heat, fire crews made sure they had extra manpower so no one got overheated.

Jay Gates is a district chief with Huntsville Fire and Rescue. He said his job is to make sure no one gets hurt while fighting a fire.

"I've been here 33 years, so I know a lot of these people. I have known them for 20 or 30 years. You know their mentality. They want to go back in, so you got to help them help themselves and make sure they don't go back in and get to hot," he said.

Gates said extreme temperatures during the summer and winter also make their job more dangerous.

"You're inside. It's hot. It's 500 to 1,000 degrees inside a normal house fire. Then you come out and you got a heat index of 100 degrees or more, so they get no relief," Gates said. " We got to get these turnouts off of them and get some cool water in them, a cool towel and in front of some cool air."

Gates said the firetruck driver is tasked with making sure there is cold water and relief for firefighters when they take a break. They'll also keep paramedics close by just in case anyone gets overheated or hurt.

"It's a standard thing for HEMSI to come to any working house fire, so they are here and we would probably keep them a little longer today than we normally would," Gates said.

Gates said he's always keeping a close eye on all of the firefighters on scene. On Friday, he called for more trucks to come help to make sure no one got overheated.

"I will make them sit down until I tell them they can go back in," he said.

That wasn't the only fire Huntsville Fire and Rescue responded to on Friday. Firefighters put out a fire in a trash can inside an apartment on Patton Road.

The cause of that fire is under investigation. No one inside the apartment was hurt.

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