Minneapolis Thaws Problems Fighting Fires at 29 Below

Issue 6 and Volume 130.

Minneapolis Thaws Problems Fighting Fires at 29 Below features St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press photo Minneapolis Tribune photo A supercold fire fighting drama hit Minneapolis last January when much of the nation was suffering through the coldest winter of the century. Two major multiple-alarm fires with classic subzero problems broke out the night of January 11, when the temperature dropped from —16 to —29 degrees and a strong westerly wind plunged wind chill readings to the —60 range. “When it’s that cold our human and mechanical efficiency drops so much that if a fire has a good start, we may not be able to save a building we otherwise would,” explained Chief Clarence Nimmerfroh. “In addition, operating in such extreme cold often causes personnel injuries and damage to our equipment.” For Nimmerfroh, the frigid evening began at the annual banquet of the city’s Honorary Fire Chiefs Association. His speech was cut…

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