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Tulsa Firefighter Cleared For Duty After Passing Out At House Fire

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Firefighters were about to wrap up work on the vacant house fire on East Oklahoma Place early Thursday morning, when Ryan Spyres' body began giving him warning signs. Firefighters were about to wrap up work on the vacant house fire on East Oklahoma Place early Thursday morning, when Ryan Spyres' body began giving him warning signs.
"[I] let my company officer know I was light headed and needed to take a break, and had EMSA come down to check me out. Before EMSA got there, I actually passed out," Spyres said. "[I] let my company officer know I was light headed and needed to take a break, and had EMSA come down to check me out. Before EMSA got there, I actually passed out," Spyres said.
Michael Baker, Tulsa Fire's director of medical services, said firefighters can be susceptible to heat related illness no matter their age or fitness level. Michael Baker, Tulsa Fire's director of medical services, said firefighters can be susceptible to heat related illness no matter their age or fitness level.
Investigators think the fire was intentionally set. Investigators think the fire was intentionally set.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Tulsa firefighter is now clear to return to duty after being overcome by the heat fighting a house fire this week.

Investigators think the fire was intentionally set. While the arson investigation is ongoing, the firefighter is just glad to be going back to work.

Firefighters were about to wrap up work on the vacant house fire on East Oklahoma Place early Thursday morning, when Ryan Spyres' body began giving him warning signs.

"[I] let my company officer know I was light headed and needed to take a break, and had EMSA come down to check me out. Before EMSA got there, I actually passed out," Spyres said.

He was dehydrated. In 16 years as a firefighter, it's the first time Spyres has had a heat related illness.

7/28/2013 Related Story: TFD Suspects Arson In Vacant House Fire That Sent Firefighter To Hospital

"Working hard, but not any harder than normal, and just the humidity - I noticed the humidity when I got off the truck, it was extremely high," Spyres said.

Michael Baker, Tulsa Fire's director of medical services, said firefighters can be susceptible to heat related illness no matter their age or fitness level.

"Their body begins to have an adjustment to the heat and it can't regulate as normal, so what that does, it puts us at higher risk because we can't balance ourselves," Baker said.

It's made worse by the gear designed to keep heat out, but that also keeps heat in. The protective clothing creates a thermal barrier, which means when you sweat, it doesn't evaporate as quickly, cooling the body down.

"We're asking them to wear protective clothing that restricts their bodies ability to regulate heat, and then we're asking them to expend energy almost to the level of an athlete," Baker said.

Spyres said, "You sweat faster than you can replenish your fluids and before long, it catches up on you, sneaks up on you."

Spyres said he is just glad it wasn't any worse than it was, and he's looking forward to getting back to work.

"Nobody wants to go down while you're out there. Nobody wants to go down period, but I would have liked to have finished up with the guys, but they all took great care of me and I appreciate all of them," Spyres said.

Spyres will be back on the job starting Saturday morning.

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