DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — “The fire had taken, it was pretty deep seated in the basement and working its way up to the first floor,” Decatur Fire Chief Jeff Abbott said.

He’s talking about a fire his crew had to battle in frigid temperatures and this wasn’t the only department battling the elements today.

First responders from two counties were called to fires, a shooting and an accident. It was brutally cold, but firefighters in Decatur got some help with that as they worked to put out this long-lasting fire.

While the cold temperatures may make a lot of people want to stay inside to keep warm..
First responders didn’t have that choice…Responding to emergencies outside.

“The way its collapsed its hard to get to some spots up there that are still burning so we’re just going to let it burn through and then we’ll start putting it out,” Chief Abbott said.

The Decatur Fire Department responded to multiple fires, one of them lasted hours..

“We made it a second alarm pretty quick, which brought in seven of our companies and then as we’re fighting this fire, another fire came in on East Prairie,” Chief Abbott said.

While fighting fires is hard enough, they also had to be in the elements for hours.

“We have to take special precautions where we don’t shut the lines all the way down, we let the water keep running so it doesn’t freeze, especially the guys up in truck one’s bucket, sitting up there for a couple hours are cold, bring ’em down, rotate the crews,” Chief Abbott said.

Decatur Fire Chief Jeff Abbott said they had a city bus for firefighters to go inside to keep warm and an organization brought food and water for them as well. Chief Abbott says this fire was in an abandoned building and they’re still investigating the cause, but he warns people to be aware this winter.

“Keep a radius of about three feet around your space heaters and as always make sure you have,” Chief Abbott said. “It’s really important now while everyone’s inside to make sure your spoke detectors are working and because of the amount of fires you have in winter.”

Some more safety tips this winter include checking your heating systems, inspecting and cleaning chimneys and fire places, and never use your oven to warm your home.