BA Firefighters brave heat, flames to fight morning blaze

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Broken Arrow firefighters dealt with more than just flames as they fought a morning business fire Wednesday.

Battling 100+ degree heat, firefighters worked to contain the blaze at Southern Agriculture near 161st East Avenue and 91st street. Pesticides and animal food products posed potential health threats inside the building. The extreme heat of the day posed threats outside.

"The temperature inside the structure is 1300--1400 degrees,” said fireman Randy Cooper. “By comparison, it would be like putting on a parka and a stocking cap and walking around outside."

The Red Cross set up a truck to offer food and water to the firefighters. Red Cross worker Melissa Ramirez said she worried the firefighters would only think of saving property and other lives and put themselves in danger. "When the call comes into firefighters, they only worry about getting there fast, they don't take time to pack up the food and water they might need, so we provide the aid they need," said Ramirez.

Firefighter worked quickly to contain the blaze for fear that it might spread to neighboring businesses. That did not prevent them from taking caution.

Firefighters took turns resting in front of a large fan and having their blood pressures and pulses checked. "We rotate them through the rehab area, where they rest and get plenty of liquids, water and so on," said Cooper.

Even with all of the precautions, two firefighters collapsed and were treated by medical workers. Off-duty and Tulsa firefighters were called in so more people could be rotated to fight the blaze.

The building suffered very heavy damage, but adjacent buildings took-on only minimal damage. The fire lasted approximately four hours and was finally extinguished just before noon.