Frozen hydrants cause problems for Chicago firefighters during blaze
It was so cold in Chicago that a 129-year-old record was broken and fire hydrants froze, causing problems for firefighters trying to put out a growing blaze
By Hannah Leone
CHICAGO— It was so cold in Chicago Monday night that a 129-year-old record was broken and fire hydrants froze, causing problems for firefighters trying to put out a growing blaze in the South Side’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The temperature fell to 9 degrees Fahrenheit as firefighters put out the last flames. Around 11:20 p.m., more than two hours after it started, the fire department tweeted that the fire in the 4200 block of South Ashland Avenue had been struck out.
3-11 at 42nd & Ashland has been struck out. Crews doing overhaul. pic.twitter.com/UF03hUJes7— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) March 5, 2019
“Chicago's high of 12 degrees today broke a 129-year-old record for the coldest high temp ever on March 4,” according to a Monday night tweet by the weather service.
As the temperature slowly dropped, the fire department’s response was upgraded from a still-and-box alarm to a two-alarm, then a three-alarm.
Firefighters “did experience some frozen hydrants,” said Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder. “That was one of the reasons why the alarm was escalated.”
When firefighters encounter a frozen hydrant, he said, “We go to the next hydrant.”
Though no injuries were reported, fire officials said four people were displaced from the 2 ½-story building — three children and an adult.
Monday had the coldest high temperature of any March 4 in Chicago since 1890, according to the National Weather Service. Monday’s high of 12 degrees was 5 degrees below the 17-degree high recorded that year.
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