Local News

Heat complicates firefighters' job in Chapel Hill

Posted July 7, 2012 7:36 p.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2012 10:43 p.m. EDT

— New Hope Fire Chief Mike Tapp said it took twice the normal number of firefighters Saturday to get a house fire under control.

When the mercury climbs, firefighters must take turns battling a blaze because the outdoor temperature, their heavy gear and fire combine to make the job even more exhausting and dangerous than usual.

After consecutive days of triple-digit heat, Tapp was limiting his firefighters to just 10 minutes of work between breaks to hydrate and catch a breath.

Firefighters from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and Eno joined the New Hope Fire Department in fighting the fire at 6814 Mimosa Drive in Chapel Hill, but they were unable to save the home.

"We had six departments respond mutual aid to this fire because right now it's 100 degrees outside, and fighting a fire like this with protective clothing, our firefighters are beaten down quick," he said. "It would compromise their abilities really quick."

Tapp said no one had been living in the home, which is listed in Orange County property records at 3,700 square feet, five bedrooms and a tax value of $624,000.

Tapp said the property had recently been sold, and the new owners had yet to move in.