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Crews Battle Fire, Bad Weather at Mr. McGill's Restaurant

Early this morning fire crews responded to Mr. McGill's Bar and DePalma's Pizza on State Route 5 in Schuyler.
Early this morning fire crews responded to Mr. McGill's Bar and DePalma's Pizza on State Route 5 in Schuyler. Crews fought frigid temperatures and snow as well as flames. The building was already engulfed in flames when firefighter got to the scene and that combined with bad weather made it impossible to save the structure.
John Stokes lives right next door to Mr. McGill's Bar and Restaurant. Early this morning his home and family were at great risk.
"The fire department knocked on our door about 4 o'clock and told us we had to get out of the house because of the fire next door, and they were afraid it was going to take out the house," he said.
It didn't--firefighters contained the flames but they couldn't keep Mr. McGill's and DePalma's Pizza from burning to the ground. All the while snow, wind, and the freezing cold made firefighter's work extra .
"The cold weather basically stresses men and machinery," said UFD Chief Russell Books.
He says just getting to the scene of a fire and finding fire hydrants that may be buried or frozen, is the first obstacle. Then fire hoses must be kept running to keep them from freezing, and soon everything is slippery.
"Fire grounds can become iced and as firefighters become fatigued, falls can become an issue," said Brooks.
Despite all the protective gear that firefighters wear, once it becomes wet, it's not too long before they have to take a break.
"If you're fighting fire inside, almost immediately you become wet and soaks through and then when you go out in the cold it's just intolerable," said Brooks.
A rotation of firefighters resting and working helps prevent injury and paramedics are on the scene, looking for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
"We improvise, we adapt, we overcome and we get the job done," said Brooks.
For John Stokes, the fire caused a mix of emotions--his home was spared but his favorite eatery was not.
"I feel bad for the owner, my heart goes out to his family, and you can't beat his riggies, I can say that!"
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