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Subzero temps made fighting house fire more difficult

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Fighting a fire in subzero temperatures was a challenge for South Bend emergency crews Tuesday morning. A fire broke out at a house on Western Avenue just before 9 a.m.

Fire crews had to call in additional departments, the street department and a city bus to keep everyone warm.

"Kind of rotate them in and out, rotate companies. As long as the guys are working and staying busy, they're warm; it's once you stop," said Nick Tekler, South Bend Fire Department Battalion Chief.

Firefighters say there was little they could do to save the house.

"The building was all boarded up. There was a lot of smoke and fire inside. Once we got here and took all the boards off, it was through the roof in a matter of minutes," said Tekler.

It didn't help that crews had to dig to find fire hydrants buried in the snow.

Also, when it's this cold out, stretching out hoses can be a challenge.

"Sometimes, the hoses will freeze up when we shut it off, before we break it down. We had to call in one of the street department trucks to haul our hose back for us," said Tekler.

Crews battled the flames for more than two hours.

Tekler says no one was living inside the house at the time and the utilities were shutoff so it's unclear what caused the fire.


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