Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Do’s and Don'ts of Frozen Pipes

During this record breaking cold weather streak, Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) has responded to nearly 20 calls a day for bursting water pipes and water related problems. As the water in pipes freezes it expands - causing the pipes to crack or burst. You won’t often know there is a problem until the temperatures warm enough to melt the ice and allow for water to flow. If you are experiencing the unfortunate dilemma of frozen or busted water pipes – here are a few things you need to know.
• Most importantly, know where and how to shut off your main water supply before you have a problem. There should be a main valve for your house (usually located in the basement or crawl space) and one at the water meter pit.
• The pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
• Make sure pipes located in exterior walls, or in floors over unheated spaces (such as a bathroom above an attached garage) are insulated and protected. Keep your garage door closed.
• Remember to never use an open flame torch (fire danger) or boiling water (will cause the pipes to burst) when thawing pipes. A hair drier on low setting works well.
• Select a licenced plumber to assist you in making any necessary repairs.
• Make sure that any exterior piping is insulated and hose bib’s are covered.
• Increase the building temperature to prevent freezing (particularly warehouses – storage facilities).
• Fire Sprinkler systems that go out of service require you to institute a Fire Watch until the system is operable.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Duplex Fire

Incident Date: 12/8/09
Issuing Officer: Joe Meinecke 253.255.3260
Incident Type: Residential Structure Fire
Incident Location: 5034 S “G” St.
Probable Cause: under investigation
Damages: unknown at this time
Injuries: None

Narrative: At 2:18 p.m. Tuesday December 8th 2009, 7 companies of Tacoma and Puyallup Firefighters – 4 Engines, 2 Ladder Companies (1 from Puyallup) 1 Medic Unit and 2 Battalion Chiefs responded to a reported residential structure fire at 5034 S. “G” Street. The first arriving units found heavy smoke and flames showing from the second floor apartment of the two story, two unit residence.

Crews attacked the fire with hand lines, conducted primary search and rescue and contained the fire to the upper unit. The occupants of the building (4 adults) escaped unharmed and are receiving relocation assistance from the Red Cross.