Fire Prevention Division Chief Phil Maclin says residents need to make sure they know where their main shut-off is for their water supply. He says if a pipe breaks and can’t be immediately fixed, the water company may need to shut off your water supply at the street.
“Yesterday we had an incident in which maintenance personnel was attempting to thaw out some frozen pipe and left the property, came back and there was smoke inside the property. It ignited the combustibles nearby. This simple act resulted in about $10,000 in damage to that property. So if your pipes are frozen what we want to prevent is using any type of open flame device to thaw out those pipes.”
Maclin says a blow dryer is a safer option for thawing pipes that are accessible.
Commercial sprinklers are also proving to cause problems as they thaw. Maclin says that’s tricky because the standard visual inspection of a sprinkler system doesn’t indicate if its frozen. But he says people who know their system is not functioning need to let the fire department know. That allows crews to respond differently in the event of a fire.