The La Crosse Fire Department has responded to 13 fires just in 2019 alone.
“It’s been abnormally busy for the last two months,” said Assistant Chief Jeff Murphy.
Despite recent record-setting snowfalls, officials say most of the fires have not been related to the cold weather.
“Most of the calls, most of these fires have been related to careless smoking, electrical, various other causes,” said Murphy.
But the freezing temperatures add to the challenge when responding to fires as often as the department has done the last seven weeks.
“It is more costly to the fire department budget and when we have the real cold weather it also causes damage to equipment as well,” says Murphy. “So probably the biggest impact is the additional cost.”
Usually when the fire department is not responding to fires or emergencies, they are training and preparing for their next call.
So far this year, that training is being placed on the back-burner.
A lot of new faces have joined the department over the past few years, and Murphy says that over the last couple of months those new firefighters have gotten a lot of real-world experience.
“We’ve had a lot of turnover in the last few years so without a doubt this gives them a good dose of reality and what they can expect to see for the rest of their careers,” said Murphy.
Luckily, none of the 13 fires have caused any fatalities and no La Crosse firefighters have been injured while out battling flames this year.