Firefighters suffer heat-related injuries while battling Henderson fire
Posted August 11, 2009
Updated August 12, 2009
Henderson, N.C. — Four firefighters were overcome by heat while battling a large fire Tuesday afternoon in Henderson.
Two buildings behind an abandoned warehouse at Willliams Street and Chavasse Avenue caught fire at about 3:30 p.m., according to investigators.
"The temperature outside was 97 degrees and we had a heat index of 105 degrees, so that didn't help at all,” Fire Chief Daniel Wilkerson said.
The abandoned buildings were filled with coal, which added fuel to the fire.
"It was just unbearable," Wilkerson said of the heat.
Firefighters take frequent water breaks when the weather is hot. Still, the temperatures proved to be too much Tuesday when four firefighters were overcome by heat.
"I was just very thirsty, dizzy, lightheaded,” firefighter Melanie King said.
King collapsed, but after being treated, she and the three others were back battling the blaze.
"To me, you just don't think about it. You got to get up and do it, you got to do it. You got to keep pushing yourself,” King said.
A late afternoon storm offered some much need relief and helped put out the fire.
"I thank the good Lord for ... a lot of rain,” Wilkerson said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Tuesday. The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting investigators.