In The Heat Of The Battle - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

In The Heat Of The Battle

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PINEVILLE, La. - In certain areas of Cenla today, temperatures reached 95 degrees or more. When you add in the humidity, the heat index was a miserable 106 degrees. While many of us are feeling a little miserable in that heat, others have to work in this, no matter how hot it gets. News Channel 5's Nolan Crane reports.

I spent the day with the Holiday Village firefighters. And if you think you're hot, try strapping on 50 pounds of equipment and battling blazes with the heat index sometimes tripling.

Marcus Morgan is just one firefighter at Holiday Village in Pineville who is used to hot weather, as he battles blazes and puts out hot spots when structures catch fire and grass fires pop up.

"I just love it, enjoy it. I don't think I could do anything else," Morgan says.

It's a spirit you have to admire, especially when you consider that when temperatures are in triple digits like today. Marcus and his fellow firefighters are a little more uncomfortable spending time fighting fires that are averaging 1,200 degrees.

"We still have to go out, regardless of the weather conditions, to help the public," Gunter says.

Take those unbelievable temps and add 50 pounds of gear, protective boots, insulated double lined pants, thick heavy coats, oxygen tanks, and of course the helmet, which doesn't breathe easily.

"With all the gear on, I'd say 50 pounds, it gets really extremely heavy and extremely exhausted," Morgan says.

The heavy clothing creates another problem for firefighters.

"The heat builds up because the gear is designed to keep water and heat from coming into you from the fire. It also retains the body heat generated in the fire. So, it's easy on a day when it's in the 90's to double the temperature inside the gear without even being in the fire," Gunter says.

When Gunter's crew was fighting this fire last month at the Old Pecan Grove Nursing Home, he says the heat took a toll on his crew.

"Multiple firemen had heat exhaustion problems, but due to their dedication, a lot of them took IV's and took fluids and got back in to help clean the scene up. It's just part of the firefighter's code. You just keep going until it is done," Gunter says.

They continue to do this because these firefighters say in order to save lives, no matter what the temperature reads, it's important that they keep their cool.

"I don't think I could be nor do anything else. I've been wanting to do this ever since I was a small kid, and it's a dream come true that I got to be at Holiday Village Fire Department," Morgan says.

The firefighters say when they fight a fire, the heat index inside those suits, when fighting a blaze, ends up being three times hotter than the temperature.

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