Watch CBS News

12 Firefighters Treated For Heat-Related Illnesses While Battling Ross Twp. Fire

Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- Some firefighters received medical attention Tuesday afternoon as the hot temperatures complicated efforts to fight a fire in Ross Township.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out in the 100 block of Varney Street around 1 p.m.

Ross Township firefighters encountered heavy smoke and sweltering temperatures when they arrived on the scene. No one was at home, and a neighbor could not save a puppy that was stuck inside.

Firefighters learned quickly the fire was not their only problem.

"The fire was under control, [but] we had some problems in the rear of the building, appeared to be up in the walls, until they were able to get inside the walls and make a stop on the fire," said Ross Township Fire Marshal John Reubi.

ross township fire
(Photo Credit: Steve Willing/KDKA)

Medics from the Ross/West View EMS set up a rehab center to help firefighters deal with dehydration.

"I know they were working very hard on multiple levels in the building, and it went to multiple alarms for that reason and because of the heat today," said Greg Porter, of Ross/West View EMS.

Dozens of firefighters from 15 surrounding departments provided relief for those who were first on the scene.

"These guys are wearing a tremendous amount of equipment, averaging 80-100 pounds in addition to their body weight. They are sweating out gallons of fluid in just 20 or 30 minutes, so it's very easy for their heart rate to get up, their temperature to get up, their blood pressure to be unstable," Porter said.

The object was to help the firefighters get re-hydrated by drinking fluids and cool off. Some were given IVs to get fluids back in their bodies.

"They come from work, or some left work, and they might have been in some kind of construction or whatever, already to that state of possible dehydration, and then to come across this fire scene, it just heightens that possibility," Reubi said.

In total, 12 firefighters were treated for heat-related issues. Additionally, one neighbor was treated for smoke inhalation, and another firefighter suffered a hand laceration.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.