Firefighters battle the cold and flames at condo fire

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The frigid conditions created more obstacles for firefighters Sunday afternoon. Crews battled a condo fire were forced to take some extra steps to get access to the fire hydrants.

It happened on the northwest side near 52nd Street and High School Road.

It’s something that happens quite often when it’s this cold outside.  All four people who live in the three attached condos made it out in time.

“All of a sudden I just saw the smoke coming on the sides of my wall,” said Bertha Crenshaw, who lives in the unit next to where the fire started. “It scared me to death.”

Crenshaw was just laying down for a nap when she heard her smoke alarm go off for the first time in 17 years. She ran outside and found her neighbor’s house engulfed in flames.

The fire quickly spread to all three condos. The roof in the middle unit eventually collapsed. Firefighters say the blaze may have started in the dryer.

The flames got thicker as crews struggle to thaw out several fire hydrants in the neighborhood. They had to use flares to unfreeze the threads and keep water flowing.

“They quickly went defensive because the large amount of fire,” said Rob Saunders, Public Information Officer for Pike Township Fire Department. “They’re pretty common with these cold temperatures. The thing we do is we try to get them flowing, work the valve a couple of times and see if we can get them to flow.”

As hard as it is to watch her home burn, Crenshaw is glad she and her neighbors made it out okay.

“It was just astonishing because i was just laying down resting and all of a sudden all of this happened.”

Crenshaw and her neighbors were checked out okay by medics on scene. All four have a temporary place to stay.