Working Outdoors Means Bone-Chilling Workdays

Staying inside out of the bitter cold is a great idea -- unless you happen to work outside.

Firefighters battling a house fire in Providence on Wednesday afternoon fought on two fronts -- the flames and the weather.

"The hazard level goes up so much more when it's like this," Little Elm firefighter Kevin Hartless said. "It's miserable."

Phillip Hartley, another firefighter, said the wind also had an effect.

The mist from the ladder truck turned to snowflakes as it fell to the ground under the force of strong wind gusts.

Firefighters' oxygen masks froze from condensation, making it impossible to breathe near the heavy smoke. Access to the roof was nearly impossible because the water turned to ice almost immediately.

Police officers, tow-truck drivers, delivery services and paramedics also spend extended time outdoors.

Portia Griffin, who retrieves shopping carts from a Frisco Kroger parking lot, also works outside.

"It's very cold," she said.

Griffin said she may make as many as 30 trips per shift, bringing back carts five at a time. She forgot her gloves Wednesday, making it a miserable night grabbing plastic handles and metal carts.

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