Bartlett warehouse fire: Blaze continues to burn for 5th day

Freezing temperatures are icing up equipment and threatening the safety of firefighters as they continue to battle a warehouse fire in Bartlett.

For five days, they have been on scene, along with neighboring fire departments, dousing hot spots as heavy machinery knocks down walls.

"As the night gets colder, we experience a lot of freezing of the pumps and the tanks on these vehicles and the water lines that we're using, so that's a big challenge for us. Also ice, the water freezes on the ground so we have some firefighters that have slipped and fallen from the ice," said Bartlett Fire Chief Bill Gabrenya.

The building is owned by a document storage company called Access. Since the fire began Thursday, firefighters have been working 12-hour shifts, stopping briefly to warm up inside cars or in a makeshift tent.


The weather has been a battle in and of itself, according to the chief.

"For instance, last night we had a tower ladder that had a valve freeze up on it so there's not much we can do at that point until we get the vehicle inside where it's warmed up to unfreeze that stuff. If we have hydrants that are freezing up on us, we have a torch, a large torch that we can use to help unfreeze that hydrant," said Gabrenya.

The chief expects the fire to be out by Thursday or Friday. He says the community has provided tremendous support, providing food and hot coffee.