Baltimore, MD - The hot weather has taken a toll on many first responders, especially firefighters, who must suit up in heavy gear and fight fires.
Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the community, putting out fires, often running into a burning building. Their efforts also come with challenges.
"When you're going here and it's 90 degrees, and on top of that, you have this heavy gear, and now you're sweating and there's no way for that to evaporate, everything stays inside," said Dickie Altieri, president of the Baltimore Firefighters Local 734.
Altieiri said firefighters have responded to 28 reported fires since July 1, about a dozen of which were working fires like Monday's warehouse fire in west Baltimore and Thursday's fire in Hillendale, Baltimore County, that left one firefighter injured. The injuries appeared to be heat-related.
"When you're out all day long in 90-degree or 100-degree weather, whether you're running fire or EMS calls, it takes a toll on everyone's body, whether it's psychological, emotional or physical," Altieri said.
Another fire broke out Friday morning in Woodlawn, where crews had to call in extra resources to give firefighters a break from the heat.
"It's very important that we not overwork our firefighters in these heat conditions on the outside and then they go in the high heat conditions on the inside," Altieri said.
While Altieri said there have been no recorded heat strokes, he said, "It can happen at any minute, at any time."
Altieri said there were a few first responders who experienced heat exhaustion last year, but none were life-threatening.