Two firefighters from Bedford County, Virginia were treated and released for heat-related illness Wednesday while battling two residential structure fires hours apart. Both were dehydrated.
“The weather is not the best,” Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal Jeff Pauley told the News Advance. “For the first fire, the temperature was 69-70 degrees but the humidity was about 90 percent. Speaking strictly on the first fire, we had multiple firefighters with weather-related issues, dehydration, inability to cool down.”
The second fire was during an even warmer time of day, though it was less humid out and there was a light breeze, Pauley said.
“It’s hot … and the protective gear that these guys wear just keeps all the heat in and you get tired out,” he said. “You need more people, because folks get worn out and need to rest and rehydrate more often because of the weather.”
Officials say a lightning strike is the likely cause of one of the fires. The second fire is under investigation. Bedford County received mutual aid from five fire departments.