Heavy Firefighter Gear Makes Heat Even More Unbearable

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Being a firefighter is a dangerous job — but battling fires in the heat is especially brutal.

Dozens of firefighters in Jersey City and on Long Island were treated for heat exhaustion after combating fires in the excessive heat, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Chief Kyle Markott of the Miller Place Long Island Fire Department said the gear is difficult to handle in this weather.

“Fire equipment is the jacket, full set of firefighting pants, full oxygen-breathing bottle,” he said. “You are talking about another 150, maybe even 200 pounds additional to what the firefighter weighs.”

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Markott said it’s extremely important that the firefighters do not stay in a burning structure too long.

“They come out to rehab and get their pulse taken, their blood pressure taken and rehab with water,” Markott said.

In Jersey City, over a dozen firefighters have been hospitalized after being overcome by the heat while battling a blaze that has burned at least three homes.

Neighbor Trina Bullock said there were flames and smoke all around, and then she heard two or three explosions. Authorities say numerous firefighters were taken to a hospital. More were treated on the scene. The fire was reported Friday afternoon as temperatures in the region reached the high 90s.

The heat index at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City hit a staggering 107 degrees at 1 p.m. Friday, the highest mark yet during the heat wave that has gripped the Northeast. The temperature in Manhattan’s Central Park topped 90 for a sixth straight day and inched down only to 89 by 11 p.m.

Some relief is on the way, meteorologists say. Though temperatures are expected to hit the 90s again on Saturday, a cold front Saturday night, with the potential to produce severe thunderstorms, is expected to send temperatures throughout the region dropping to the mid-80s on Sunday.

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