Texas Crews Work in Triple-Digit Weather

June 17, 2008
El Paso firefighters braved triple-digit heat to battle a blaze in south central El Paso.

EL PASO, Texas --

El Paso firefighters braved triple-digit heat to battle a blaze in south central El Paso. The fire on Central and Paisano started just after 2:30 p.m. Monday and caught neighbors by surprise.

"They yelled fire and I ran over here and I saw the whole fire, said Jonathan Perez. It was just burning down the house."

Investigators say the fire started on a couch in the alley and quickly spread to the vacant house. They are trying to determine if a homeless person started the fire by accident or if it was intentionally set.

No one was injured in the fire but several homes were evacuated.

"I was very scared, [because] of my children, my nieces, Perez said. The smoke it could damage their lungs."

Firefighters said the heat was a major concern while they were fighting the flames.

"Just with this gear itsself, it's pretty hot and with the fire going full blast, it's even hotter," said El Paso firefighter Julio Cervantes. Cervantes was among one of the first firefighters to arrive on the scene.

To beat the heat, firefighters take a break and rotate crews every 20 to 30 minutes. They cool off and rehydrate and get their vitals checked before returning to duty.

Red Cross was on scene to give firefighters snacks and water as well as an air conditioned Sun Metro bus to help firefighters cool off.

Sun Metro also allows the city to use of one of its in emergencies when the temperatures reach 100 degrees or more. Monday's high in El Paso was 106 degrees.

Firefighters said there is $70,000 worth of damage to the home.

Copyright 2007 by . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!