Fire departments preparing for more calls as temperatures drop across capital area
ST. AMANT - Earlier this week, Ascension Parish declared a state of emergency as the bitter cold started moving into the capital area. Officials started preparing right away, including an already busy volunteer fire department.
"We know this is going to be a rough weekend, we are going to put sand on our parish bridges, so whenever it gets here, at least we have sand on our parish bridges," said Chief James LeBlanc with the St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief LeBlanc says his crews have responded to a handful of house fires this week, and they expect a lot more as the temperature continues to drop.
"We're lucky we got some volunteers that have volunteered to sleep at the station all weekend because they know this is going to be a peak time," he said.
LeBlanc says his crews put out five fires over the past week that were all winter-related, started by people just trying to warm up.
"I don't recommend that if you have a gas stove, that you light it and let it burn. I don't recommend that you turn the oven on and open the door, letting it heat the house," LeBlanc said. "We recommend that you start a fire in your fireplace, but we also recommend that you monitor it."
The fire chief says he hopes this weekend isn't a repeat of last year's winter in the number of emergencies they responded to.
"We're hoping that we don't have that rerun this weekend. It was a tough time for all of us," LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc is also asking everyone to spread kindness and to keep up with the well-being of their neighbors during the freeze.
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