PFD is responding to more broken water pipe and electrical issues

Jan 9, 2014

Chief Phillip Maclin handles fire prevention for the Peoria Fire Department. He's holding up the picture of the damage caused Wednesday at a West Ann residence while the maintenance person tried to thaw frozen pipes.
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio
The Peoria Fire Department has received nearly 50 calls for pipes that are breaking as they thaw. That means what people are using to thaw pipes is a point of caution.  

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.