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Firefighters battle two-fronted war with heat, cold

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Firefighters battle two-fronted war with heat, cold
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Firefighters across the state had to battle more than just flames Wednesday morning. YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us why winter's cold can be one of the toughest hurdles that firefighters face.

UTICA, N.Y. -- As if fighting a blazing hot fire wasn't hard enough…

"You've got to worry about slips and falls, hypothermia, frostbite," Utica Deputy Fire Chief Michael Wusik said.

Utica firefighters had to save several people trapped Wednesday morning.

"There was one victim that was burned, he was transported to a local hospital," explained Wusik.

They were spraying a house for an hour and a half in sub-zero temperatures.

"It was cold, we were fighting the elements," said the deputy chief.

Lyncourt Fire Chief John Romanyk says although their Wednesday morning call wasn't big, days like this can be some of the most dangerous.

"With snow covered roads, you've got to slow down your response immensely," Romanyk said.

And then you need water.

"We're lucky we didn't have a frozen hydrant, but that happens," said Romanyk.

So do frozen lines or even cars blocking the street, all could waste crucial seconds.

"Fire spreads very rapidly, so we were lucky," Romanyk explained.

But when the water is set and you start spraying your real troubles begin.

"It's bad enough when you get wet, but then when it starts icing over, you can barely move," Wusik said.

So while running into a fire, Wusik said, "You have to contend with your equipment freezing up, your air masks freezing up."

However toughas it is to be out here, they've clearly got a fire that's not easily put down in the cold.

"It's not like we can go warm up some place, you know? We keep going until the fire is out," said Romanyk.

Firefighters say the public can help them out in the winter. They suggest keeping nearby fire hydrants clear of snow and doing what you can to keep cars off the streets.

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