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Crews fight frigid temperatures during early morning fire

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Albany/HV: Crews fight frigid temperatures during early morning fire
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Crews battled an early morning fire on Friday in Middletown despite cold temperatures. Our Meredith Zaritheny has more on the challenges they faced.

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- "It's very tough to fight fire in this type of conditions. You're working against yourself," said Middletown Fire Chief Tommy Amodio.

With snow falling and wind gusting, firefighters in Middletown battled the elements in an attempt to save a burning building on Charles Street.

"We pulled up to a fully involved fire in the rear of the building, operations were very tough at the beginning due to the weather," said Amodio.

Just getting to the fire was tough for the crews.

"The roads were really slick getting in. We had a really hard time getting up the hill, the trucks were sliding, trying to get up," added Amodio.

Once on the scene, their job didn't get any easier due to below zero temperatures

"It's basically like putting on a pair of ice skates and trying to fight a fire with a pair of ice skates on," said Louis Ingrassia, the Town of Wallkill Public Works Commissioner.

Amodio said it’s important to keep his crew warm and hydrated, and even called in back up to help with that.

"I brought in mobile life support and they brought a van in and the guys were going in to rehab with water and stuff," said Ingrassia.

"You need to remain hydrated, you need to remain warm and you have to cycle your people in and out, you can't wear them out," said Amodio.

The extreme cold also affected the equipment.

"We had one hydrant on the top that was frozen, and then we got that open, and we had a couple lines that froze on us," said Amodio.

Fighting fires is never an easy job, but on days like this, Chief Amodio says it is extra challenging, and the most important thing is keeping his crew safe.

"Guys did a great job with the weather and the conditions that were out here," said Amodio.

The building is abandoned and nobody was hurt.

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