Oceana Co. Firefighters Fight Flames, Freezing Temperatures To Save People From Burning Apartments

Thursday morning’s sub-zero temperatures were a big issue for crews trying to put out a fire at an apartment complex in Oceana County.

Eighty-one units had to be evacuated and several people were hurt.

It started just after midnight.

Six people had to be taken to the hospital after the fire destroyed two buildings at the Parkview Manor Apartments in Hart.  

"We’re very lucky that we got everybody out," says Hart Fire Department Chief Ken Klotz.

Bitterly cold temperatures didn’t stop firefighters from giving it their all to put out the flames and save people trapped inside the burning apartments.

"It was a terrible cold, the wind, and of course, the wind was out of the west and the parking lot is on the east side of the building, so it was all smoke. You couldn’t see nothing. It was hard to fight," explains Klotz.

The low temperatures, only made worse by whipping winds, forced crews to take extra measures to stay safe.

"They got cold. Luckily, they have an office here and they had coffee for us and we rotated shifts. We had enough guys," says Klotz.

The biting cold even got to their equipment.

"The hoses were freezing up. You gotta leave them cracked and running, and then we had pump problems, you know? Valves freezing. It was a miserable night," says Klotz.

Even though they were miserable, crews from multiple departments banded together to stop a situation that could have ended much worse.

"Yes, it could’ve. Yep. And I was afraid that was what was going to happen," say Klotz.

A couple local businesses are stepping up to help the fire victims.

Donations are being accept at Big Hart Brewing and Gales IGA. They are looking for clean winter clothing, household and hygiene items.