Heat Major Issue at Office Building Fire

By: Mike Waterhouse; Laurabree Austin Email
By: Mike Waterhouse; Laurabree Austin Email

A fire Thursday afternoon in Cross Lanes didn't cause a lot of damage to an office building, but it did cause a lot of problems for firefighters.

They had major problems because of the heat. The higher temperatures came on so fast, paramedics say our bodies haven't had time to adjust. That's one reason why three firefighters who were responding to the City Holdings building in Cross Lanes had to be treated aggressively after overheating.

One of those cases was quite extreme: an Institute firefighter had a seizure at the scene. Mike Jarrett with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority says that can be caused by heat.

The firefighter is now at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston and we're told he's doing well.

It's a situation they say they hope others take to heart -- because if these trained firefighters who know they need to keep cool and drink plenty of water were overwhelmed, then the rest of us really need to be careful.

"What we have to do is educate, drink water, be prepared, know limitations and have a buddy system," said Jarrett.

By the buddy system, Jarrett means to pair off. When people know each other they'll be much more likely to notice if there's a problem and if someone doesn't look well.

Firefighters tell us the fire began in a contained back-up power generator. Most of the damage was from smoke.

The City Holdings building had to be evacuated when smoke filled the offices.

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