Firefighters work to beat the heat while they battle fires - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Firefighters work to beat the heat while they battle fires

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

It was an eventful Sunday for local firefighters who spent hours battling a fire in the hot sun on June 10.

"It was really hot," said Rob Bailey, a firefighter with the Bellmead Fire Department. "There was a lot of tires burning, a lot of thick black smoke. It was just really hot."

Firefighters from Bellmead, Waco, Lacy-Lakeview and Elm Mott worked together to put out hot spots throughout a wooded area in a Waco neighborhood just north of Baylor University.

"That was probably the worst brush fire that we've had," Bailey said.

Bellmead Fire Chief William Hlavenka said current weather conditions are giving outdoor fires an advantage and hurting those who try to put them out.

"You start getting hot and everything else, then you got heat exhaustion that could possibly hit or even a heat stroke so that's why you're pulling your people out," Chief Hlavenka said.

Firefighters also have to wear fire-resistant pants, a heavy jacket and steel-plated booted that heat them up pretty quickly.

"You throw an air pack on and you're adding another 30, 40 pounds," Bailey said. 

That's where the Heart of Texas Fire Corps comes in to help. On Sunday, a team arrived on scene to provide food, water, cool air and shade to firefighters.

"We try to put them in a cool vest, get their body temperature back down, that immediately sees a color change in their skin. Then we see a body change, they're not slumped over as much. They stand up with confidence and they are ready to go back out there," said Cdr. Jeff Wilhelm with the Heart of Texas Fire Corps. 

Cdr. Wilhelm said they treated more than three dozen firefighters as they worked to put out the grass fire. 

"They were worn out pretty fast because that call came in right in the middle of the hot part of the day and out there in the sun, you don't get any break at all," said Cdr. Wilhelm.

The rehab station kept the firefighters at their best while they tackled a dangerous job.

"You know, heat stroke heat exhaustion, things like that," Bailey said. "Then you end up in the hospital and you're not going to do yourself any good doing, so stay hydrated."

Chief Hlavenka is allowing his team to wear shorts during these next few months to offset the high temperatures. He said they are one of the few departments in the state to make this accommodation.

Cdr. Wilhelm added that the Heart of Texas Fire Corps needs all the help it can get this summer. If you are interested in making a monetary donation or donating supplies, you can call 254-227-1713.

They are also in need of volunteers. No first responder experience is necessary. 

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved. 

  • NewsMore>>

  • GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:41 AM EDT2018-06-21 04:41:36 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 6:17 AM EDT2018-06-23 10:17:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

    More >>

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

    More >>
  • Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

    Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

    Friday, June 22 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-06-22 05:13:01 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 6:16 AM EDT2018-06-23 10:16:42 GMT
    (Chinatopix via AP). FILE - In this April 8, 2018 file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China has accused the United States on Thursday, June 21, 2018, of using pressure tactics and ...(Chinatopix via AP). FILE - In this April 8, 2018 file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China has accused the United States on Thursday, June 21, 2018, of using pressure tactics and ...

    Trump got in the first jabs; now the world is punching back as the trade brawl spreads.

    More >>

    Trump got in the first jabs; now the world is punching back as the trade brawl spreads.

    More >>
  • Plans unclear for reuniting separated immigrant children

    Plans unclear for reuniting separated immigrant children

    Friday, June 22 2018 6:06 AM EDT2018-06-22 10:06:01 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 6:15 AM EDT2018-06-23 10:15:54 GMT
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Jesus Funes, 19-months, cries as his mother, Diva Funes, both immigrants from Honduras, holds him after being escorted back to Reynosa, Mexico, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The family, who was seeking asylum, said they were tol...(AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Jesus Funes, 19-months, cries as his mother, Diva Funes, both immigrants from Honduras, holds him after being escorted back to Reynosa, Mexico, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The family, who was seeking asylum, said they were tol...

    About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May, a senior Trump administration official says.

    More >>

    About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May, a senior Trump administration official says.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly