Firefighter Recovering from Heat Exhaustion

Posted at 12:44 PM, Jun 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-02 19:44:05-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (June 2, 2014) — As investigators look into the cause of a house fire on Grand Rapids northwest side, one firefighter is recovering from heat exhaustion.

Grand Rapids firefighters worked fast to get the flames knocked down inside a home in the 1700 block of Ranch Drive around 3 a.m. Monday.

The elderly homeowner, his son, daughter in law and dog all got out safely. But one firefighter was overcome by the conditions.

“We had one firefighter go down from heat exhaustion,” said Nancy Boss, Acting Battalion Chief of the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Staying hydrated is something the fire department keeps in mind year round, but it becomes even more critical when the temperatures and humidity go up.

“The equipment we wear, we’re in our gear, totally covered up,” said Kevin Sehlmeyer, Acting Deputy Fire Chief for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

“We’re breathing out of a tank. The air in the tank has no moisture so the body has to compensate to lubricate the repertory system by pulling water from within, which then causes our firefighters to, if they are borderline dehydration, it usually takes them over the top.”

Investigators believe the fire started in the back of the home. But, when it got to the garage, several propane tanks exploded making the fire even hotter for crews.

Staying hydrated is something firefighters want everyone to keep in mind as we head into summer.

“The average person needs one to two liters of water during the summertime,” explained Sehlmeyer. “The average firefighter, involved in a fire, will need to replace three to four liters of water.”