Butler County fire shows dangers to first responders in extreme conditions: ‘It’s a tough job to do in this weather’

Firefighters from five Butler County districts had to battle a fire and the weather Wednesday afternoon in Trenton.

With wind chills dropping to minus-35 degrees, crews from Trenton, Middletown, Monroe, Madison and St. Clair Twps. responded to the fire at the single-family home because officials were concerned for the firefighters’ well-being, said Trenton Fire Chief Darrell Yater.

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Yater said he was concerned for the firefighters’ safety because of the cold temperatures that quickly turned the water from the fire hoses into ice. Salt was placed on the ice, he said.

“It’s a tough job to do in this weather,” Yater said.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross also responded to the fire in the 400 block of Aberdeen Drive, and besides caring for the resident, they provided emergency services to the firefighters, said Lisa Herzog, disaster program manager.

She said providing the firefighters with liquids and snacks was “extremely important.”

The fire also showed the importance of having your fireplace inspected, Yater said. The preliminary investigation revealed there was a crack in the fireplace, and flames entered the walls and spread to the attic, Yater said.

He said the renter had used the fireplace for two straights days and it was “staying pretty hot.”

The man told Yater smoke filled his house, then he heard “popping” in the walls.

Staff writer Nick Graham contributed to this report.

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