Extreme heat and dry conditions make jobs of firefighters tougher

glieb@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 11, 2014 

GL Fire6

Juan Ramirez, right, and Daniel Freeman extinguish an apartment fire on D street in Los Banos on July 5.

GENE LIEB — glieb@losbanosenterprise.com Buy Photo

The weather forecast in Los Banos for the next 45 days calls for hot, dry days of mid-90s to low 100s. Combine the heat and dry land with the wind that blows through Los Banos and the conditions for fire are high.

Look at what happened July 5 about 11:30 p.m. Fireworks caused an apartment complex blaze on D Street that caused extensive damage to a few units. It could have been devastating if not for the quick actions of Los Banos firefighters.

There was a common attic space above the two-story D street apartment complex. The blown-in insulation was on fire, with flames spreading quickly. Firefighters cut into the ceiling as well as part of the outside of one apartment unit to battle the flames. They crawled into the attic to make sure it was out — all in heavy, protective gear.

They were sweating, thirsty and one even sliced his hand on a broken upstairs window and had to go to the hospital for treatment.

If not for those firefighters knowing what to do, the entire apartment complex and neighboring houses could have all burned to the ground. Many would be homeless and some may not have gotten out alive.

Firefighters in Los Banos do a lot more than put out fires. They respond to medical aid calls for people who are suffering from strokes, heart attacks, traffic accidents, who have fallen or are suffering from countless other health issues. There are only a couple ambulances available, so the firefighters are trained to assist and have saved lives.

And on a human side, most are good cooks and really nice people.

Two points to be made here:

Be careful and think before doing anything that could start a fire. Don’t leave pans cooking on the stove. Don’t smoke around gasoline-powered engines. Stay close to your barbecues.

Thank the next firefighter you see, because one day he or she may be saving your house or property or that of a friend or relative.

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