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Firefighters battle flames and frigid weather in Kiryas Joel

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Albany/HV: Firefighters battle flames and frigid weather in Kiryas Joel
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Five families are homeless after a fire at an apartment complex in Kiryas Joel. As Christian Farrell reports, the arctic temperatures made things difficult, and dangerous for fire crews.

KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. - "My sister called me that her house is on fire, and can I help her. She has a baby," said Joseph Sandel of Monroe.

"They made it out okay. No injuries thank God," said Kiryas Joel Fire Chief Joshua Blumenthal.

Everyone living inside 6 Premishlan Way is safe after a fire breaks out at the apartment complex. With the evacuation complete, the concern for fire officials shifts to working in weather that can be as dangerous as the flames they're trying to put out.

"We really have to watch what we're doing. Everything is slippery and frozen. It's really difficult," said Blumenthal.

During extreme cold weather situations like this, fire officials say extra manpower is needed to fight a fire to make sure no one becomes a cold-weather casualty.

The fire was so big, crews had to be called in from all across Orange County. Fire crews said exposure to Arctic Air doesn't take long to numb the body.

"There are safety officers in place to ensure that folks are exposed to the minimum amount of danger as possible. We're beginning to bring mobile facilities on site in order that firefighters and others can get warm, and go back to fighting the fire," said Orange County Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Seamus Leary.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

And while it ultimately takes several hours to get the fire under control - there's no telling how long it'll take to warm the fingers and toes of those who spent that time, on the job, outside in the cold.

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