New London firefighters struggle with frigid weather
By John Faucher
The New London Fire Department responded to three fire calls in 24 hours between 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, New London responded to assist Hortonville-Hortonia Fire District in a structure fire at W10233 County Trunk TT in Hortonia.
Firefighters struggled with sub-zero temperatures and a three-tenths of a mile long ice covered driveway leading up to the home. Firefighters and responders could be seen walking up the long driveway from County TT, where fire trucks were staged to help battle the blaze.
Temperatures dipped to -14 degrees on Monday morning at the time of the fire, with wind chills that dipped near -20 below.
Lt.Greg Stilen, a 23-year veteran of the department, said sub-zero temperatures “definitely can cause problems for fire fighters and equipment.”
“When it’s this cold out, you have to keep the hose open. If you close it up all the way it’ll freeze right up,” said Stilen.
That can result in ice buildup, which can pose another problem for mobility.
At Hortonville, Outagamie County plow trucks were called to the scene to spread ice melt and sand.
New London Interim Fire Chief Dick Muskevitsch said in sub-zero temperatures extra manpower is also brought in to give firefighters a chance to warm up.
At approximately 5:45 p.m. Monday evening, New London Fire Department was dispatched to an upper apartment at 317 South Pearl Street.
“The call came in as a back porch on fire,” said Muskevitsch.
Firefighters responded almost instantly and located a problem with a fan motor from a forced air heater that became overheated.
Firefighters cleared the scene at approximately 6:10 p.m.
At approximately 8:05 a.m. Tuesday, the New London Fire Department responded to Granite Valley Forest Products on County Trunk S for a possible structure fire.
Shortly after arrival, they learned it was a false alarm and returned to the station.