Freezing temps mean more fires, Russellville FD is prepared to battle blazes in the cold

RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. - Freezing temperatures dramatically increase the number of calls fire departments receive. So, with temperatures dropping below freezing for an extended amount of time, Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell says he is bringing in additional personnel over the weekend.

Friday morning was hectic for the Russellville Fire Department. No sooner than when firefighters reported for work, they got their first call. A mobile home being used outside a Russellville business had caught on fire.

Thankfully, the resident was able to escape the blaze. "When we got here, he was out. Anytime we get a fire, especially early in the morning, you always have that fear somebody is still being in there," said Chief Mansell.

Chief Mansell says it likely started from a space heater or electric blanket. He stressed that residents need to take precautions when using those items - like having a working smoke detector.

He also cautioned against using an extension cord with those heating devices as they can easily overheat and spark a fire.

The fire crews are taking their own precautions during the freezing weather. Exposure to the elements while battling blazes is one of Chief Mansell's main concerns, along with the hazards of equipment malfunctions in the freezing conditions. "You don't want these guys out in this for any extended amount of time. Anytime you have a fire, the adrenaline is pumping, so the guys are not really keeping up with the amount of time that they are out."