EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – After a fire destroyed one home in the 1400 block of South Barker Avenue, thoughts of “what could have been” arise for the two homes on the north and south sides of the gutted structure.

“Very lucky,” explains Division Chief Mike Larson of the Evansville Fire Department. “Those houses are probably 5 feet apart. The eaves are possibly closer than that, I haven’t measured it but they are very, very close. So great job by the firefighters.”

Another hazard for firefighters: the extremely cold conditions. At the time of the fire, temperatures were falling into the teens with wind chill readings in the upper single digits. Below freezing temperatures combined with the presence of water can sometimes create a hazardous situation for firefighters.

“Slip and falls for our firefighters are probably the biggest risk for injury, outside of the structure. We’ve got that layer of water and ice on the ground.”

Fighting fires in the cold often presents its danger after the work is completed.

“Fighting the fire, the adrenaline, they’re working, they’re warm,” explains Larson. “Once the fire’s out and it’s time to roll up the hose and put things away, now that sweat that’s in their gear starts to create the other effect, well sweat is supposed to cool you off. Then the extreme temperatures, there you go.”

As of January 26, 2022, the cause of this fire was still under investigation. Larson tells us, in total, 4 individuals were displaced due to the blaze and were connected with the American Red Cross for further assistance.