Fire crews fight fire and exhaustion at East Syracuse recycling plant
The roaring flames are gone, but the smoldering wreckage has taken a toll on the firefighters.
Ryan Russell is a Lieutenant with the East Syracuse Volunteer Fire Department. "Guys yesterday worked anywhere between 10 and 12 hours. Today we've been breaking it up a little easier now that it's not as much of an emergency. A lot of guys dedicated a lot of time yesterday so now we're letting them take softer shifts, a little bit easier on their time," says Russell.
With these long shifts, the volunteer firefighters from East Syracuse have been rotating in and out every 20 minutes over the past two days at Syracuse Recycling and Recovery fire.
Nathan Baker is also a Lieutenant with East Syracuse. "We rehab ourselves by just drinking our fluids, water water water. Mother nature helps us by not giving us 90 degree weather. As for our units, we are all trained the same way. We do everything the same to keep our health and safety first," says Baker.
In between each of their shifts, these firefighters check their vitals with local ambulance crews at a command post, as well as eating food. Much of the food was brought in by neighbors.
"When they're physically ready to go back, they go back to work and then that next shift might only be 15 minutes, and then it repeats itself. The shifts get shorter and shorter until it gets to the point that people know that they have to leave when we send them home (and) let them take some rest," says Russell.
David Brewster is an Assistant Chief with East Syracuse. "You need to stand up to some of the guys and tell them to go home. Some of the newer guys are nervous that they're gonna miss something. It's a big fire. They need to go home and get rest, because when you start getting tired, you start making mistakes. When you start making mistakes someone's gonna get hurt or killed," says Brewster.
This fire is 95 percent contained and crews will be working throughout the night and into the morning to monitor any potential flare-ups. Fire officials hope by the morning they will be able to call this fire 100% out. At which point they will all be able to take a break together until the next call comes their way.