Fire district reports triple number of calls from Friday’s icy commute

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Drivers are still talking about it: Friday’s nightmare rush over that left many people stuck in traffic for hours.

It was a busy night for rescue crews. The Maryland Heights Fire Protection District logged three times the regular number of calls that evening, Chief Steve Olshwanger said.

“It was tough, especially all the calls we had on 364 and I-270,” he said. “Like everybody else, we couldn’t move. So we would get to a location, the firefighters and paramedics had to basically slide their way to the incident, and take care of the patients that way.”

The district responded to a couple calls involving drivers in need of medication. In another case, an elderly couple slipped and fell at the end of their driveway. Firefighters were also called to a vehicle that slid off the road and into a lake, Olshwanger said.

Central County Command took more than 700 calls, he said.

No one predicted the roads would be covered in ice and many drivers were caught off guard and frustrated by the hours-long commutes home. But Olshwanger said in the future, drivers who are already home, should stay home.

“We saw several patients that evening that left their homes and fell because they were going out for the evening. The big lesson is when there’s that much ice, just stay in; it’s not worth going out.”

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