Fire Crews Battle Heat Wave and Barn Fire in Genesee County

July 21, 2011 Updated Jul 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

...
July 21, 2011 Updated Jul 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM EDT


Batavia, NY (WKBW) What was once a massive barn on the Post Farms complex is now reduced to charred timbers, ash, and burnt hay.

Firefighters had to face the challenge of the day's massive heat wave, along with battling the fire.

"The inability of the firefighters to function in this extreme heat and humidity really contributed to the fire getting away," Kieth Hunt of Genesee County's Emergency Management Services said.

"With heat emergencies you get worn down quick, a lot of gear, it doesn't take long for bodies to overheat and people get exhausted," Elba Fire Chief Brian Russell added.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a heat related illness. But crews on scene were taking any and all steps to stay safe and as cool as possible.

"We have ice bags, ice packs, wet towels, and a big tank for firefighters to jump in to cool off," Hunt said.

With no local water lines or fire hydrants, tankers had to be called in to bring water to the scene. Add that to dealing with the heat, and it was a multi-agency effort to say the least.

"With the heat we want to rotate people through and keep our manpower safe," Russell said.

"We have every unit in Genesee County here doing something in some capacity. It's just a bad combination today," Hunt said.

There is no word on what caused the fire at this time. Owners say all animals that were in the barn got out safe. And according to fellow firefighters, the one person sent to the hospital for excessive heat was doing fine.