North Richland Hills

Firefighters Battle Heat, House Fire in North Richland Hills

Firefighters spent much of the day battling the heat while also battling a large house fire in North Richland Hills.

Officials said a tree limb came crashing down on backyard power lines in the 6100 block of Abbott Avenue at about 9:45 a.m. Friday, sparking the fire just minutes later.

Firefighters from five departments battled the blaze on what it is expected to be the hottest day of the year.

Working from about 10 a.m. well into the afternoon, they took shifts inside, then outside on the lawn to rehydrate and try to cool off in the 100-plus degree heat.

"In addition to doing work cycles with some intervals of rest, we're keeping them hydrated, trying to get them in the shade, keeping water and gatorade in those guys and we brought in a few extra crews, just to help with the heat problems that we're experiencing today," said Battalion Chief Steven Rucker, with North Richland Hills Fire Department.

Everyone in the home made it out safely, including a dog.

Greg Franklin raced home from work after getting the call from his wife that their home was on fire. He saw the black smoke from the highway, but once he arrived home and learned eveyone was OK, his focus turned to the crews, working to keep their neighborhood safe.

"I went by, gave them a bunch of bottled water myself and told them thanks for everything they do, you know, stay safe, don't take any risks," Franklin said.

At noon, the temperature was 99 degrees at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, but several personal weather stations recorded temperatures ranging from 101 to 104 degrees in North Richland Hills.

Franklin expected the home to be a total loss. His family made it out with just the clothes on their backs. They've already made an insurance claim and plan to stay in a hotel for the next week while they figure out how to rebuild.

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