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Cold temperatures complicate firefighters' job at West Side home

Posted at 6:03 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 18:44:06-05

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Firefighters battled a large house fire in Grand Rapids on Thursday morning in tough conditions.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department says by the time they were called to a fire at a duplex on Lake Michigan Drive.

When FOX 17 first got to the scene, a USPS worker told the crew he saw the flames while delivering the mail and told the people inside their home was on fire. Five people in total were displaced.

GRFD arrived two minutes after they got the call around 9:34 in the morning to a house with a fire that had been "well seated" or burning well throughout the home.

“Grand Rapids firefighters encountered some pretty extreme weather conditions today,” GRFD Lt. Bill Smith said.

Fire and ice do not mix. Cold conditions mean frozen equipment and firefighters.

“Pretty easy to see most of the water we’ve been using has been turning to ice, making things a little more dangerous for our personnel on the scene,” Smith said.

A second crew was called in shortly after the first. Thirty-four firefighters and 10 units responded.

“Homes can be replaced; people can’t,” Smith said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. FOX 17 is told the Red Cross has been contacted to help find the five people displaced housing.

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