Firefighters plan for fires in frigid temperatures

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This deep freeze slows everything down and can turn anything exposed to the frigid weather into a block of ice. That means firefighters have to be prepared for the unexpected, like frozen hydrants and icy surfaces.

NBC4 caught up with Columbus firefighters from Battalion 6 as they fought a house fire in the 4800 block of Folger Drive on Tuesday morning.

A house fire can be a devastating thing for a family, but in this case of this fire the Chief said everything worked as planned, regardless of the freezing weather.

“We are always practicing for what-if scenarios. What if something doesn’t go as planned, firefighters always have a contingency plan,” said Battalion Chief David Baugh.

Like a plan in case they encounter frozen hydrants.

“By October 15 every hydrant in the city is pumped dry, then we check then every six weeks to ensure they are not leaking,” he said.

And if the hydrant does leak and freeze they plan for that too.

“Each engine carries 750 gallons of water and we also have 1,000 feet of five inch hose we use to hook up to a hydrant farther away.”

Chief Baugh said in Folger Drive fire the family heard their smoke alarm go off and did the right thing.

“They found a fire in a bedroom and they closed the door. By closing the door that kept the fire from spreading into uninvolved areas, and made it easier for us to put out,” Chief Baugh said.

If during that six-week check a fire hydrant is found with water inside it is reported to the city water department for repair.

The U.S. Fire Administration states winter home fires account for only 8 percent of the total number of fires, but result in 30 percent of all fire deaths.

You can find more information at this FEMA web site. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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