Icy temps make fires challenging to fight off for firefighters - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Icy temps make fires challenging to fight off for firefighters

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(Bolivar, Mo.--1/01/17) Two people are dead after a fire rips through a home in Bolivar early this morning

Smoke billowed from a house at the corner of Chestnut and Canton, north of Broadway street as fire crews worked to battle the blaze.

The fire broke out around 615 a.m. and claimed the life of  Robbie Spencer and another unnamed person.

"To happen on the holidays and New Year just gives us a heavy burden and our thoughts go out to the people that are involved with this and we just pray we can provide some level of comfort and help in this time," explains Brent Watkins, Deputy Fire Chief, Bolivar Fire Department.

With the extreme cold weather upon us, firefighters found themselves battling not only the flames, but also the elements.

"We have to make sure that water is continually flowing through the water lines so they don’t freeze then that creates slip issues, fall issues, danger issues like that. So it’s a continual big team effort to ensure a scene like this is safe."

Chief Watkins says the cold temperatures caused problems for the department as it’s air packs started to freeze.

"They’re freezing to the guys bodies and we’re having to break them off of the gear cause the valves are freezing, the gear is freezing."

Neighbor Ernest Dodd saw the fire from his yard and alerted authorities after seeing smoke coming from the home.

"It’s hard especially being right next door and everything and then taken a chance of my house of catching fire with my kids in it," explains Dodd.

Harold Holt lives next door and says they've been great neighbors and was sad to hear the outcome.

"It’s kind of sad really cause he just moved in not to long ago and he was a really nice guy," says Holt. 

Fire officials are still investigating and say its too early to tell what may have sparked the fire. 

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