Chippewa Valley deals with extreme cold

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)-- The arctic air forced hundreds of schools and dozens of business to close Monday and Tuesday and is creating challenges.

One of those businesses closed due to cold weather is Boxx Sanitation in Eau Claire. Owner Josh Boxx says he felt it was just simply too cold to send his workers outside to pick up garbage and recycling.

“It’s a huge safety concern for our workers who have to be out in this cold and it’s hard on our equipment,” said Boxx.

The extreme cold is also creating challenges for first responders trying to keep you safe.

Eau Claire Fire Battalion Chief Allyn Bretrang says the extreme cold often leads to more accidental fires because people are using more heat to stay warm.

On Birch Street this morning crews responded to a garage fire. No one was hurt but the extreme weather made fighting the fire more difficult.

"Our first concern is the people we are trying to help but then for fire fighters ourselves we have to pay attention to our safety too. We have to have more personal and rotate them out to make sure they are able to keep doing their job and then we have to make sure our equipment is still running," said Bertrang.

Bertrang says in this weather water almost freezes instantly creating slippery ground to work on.

“We often have to get sand trucks out there to keep people slipping and falling,” said Bertrang.

And with the cold weather sticking around, the challenges for workers will stick around too.

Emergency crews say you can get frostbite within 5-10 minutes of being outside in these conditions.