San Antonio firefighters battle dangerous combination of flames, humid weather

“It’s like you’re in an oven... it’s that hot and somebody’s turning up the heat.”

SAN ANTONIO – During early afternoon calls, San Antonio fire crews faced a dangerous combination -- the heat from the flames and the brutally humid weather conditions.

A vacant home near Boerne Stage Road was ruined in a fire Saturday afternoon, but no injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

However, the fire posed even more of a threat, given the triple-digit temperatures outside.

“It makes it a lot harder because it’s so much hotter and they’re in their encapsulating gear, so it’s very, very hot for them. So we had one of our medic officers and our medic units come up. They brought us ice water, Gatorade; they have some towels soaked in ice water,” said SAFD Battalion Chief Brooke Hildreth.

Firefighters overheating is always a top concern, and SAFD said it is working to keep crews hydrated during the response.

Also by taking off their gear and spending time in the shade, this helps keep fire crews cool.

On hot days, fire officials said these breaks for firefighters need to happen more often.

“So we give extra personnel so we can take them out and trade them out and give them breaks at faster intervals. Because we didn’t go inside, it made it a little bit easier because we just fought it from the outside,” said Hildreth.

The department sent five engines and three ladders to today’s call. They described the fire as impressive, as SAFD had to rotate crews every 15 minutes.

“It’s like you’re in an oven... it’s that hot and somebody’s turning up the heat,” Hildreth said.

It wasn’t needed on Saturday, but for larger fires, SAFD will ask Bexar County to bring rehab units to the scene for medical evaluations, hydration and food.

The cause of the house fire is still under investigation.

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About the Author:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.