Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Frozen Water Pipes

As the recent cold snap comes to an end - many homeowners and businesses will be dealing with yet another hazard - broken water pipes.  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.
  • If you are a Tacoma Water customer, and you have a water leak emergency, call the trouble line at (253) 502-8384. 
  • 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.

Thanksgiving Fires Are Preventable

As you prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday, Tacoma Fire Department encourages everyone to follow this "tried and true" recipe for a safe celebration.   

According to data from United States Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires (in residential buildings) occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss each year. The majority of these fires are related to making the wonderful holiday feast.

When it comes to cooking:

  • Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Keep oven food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
  • Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
  • Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
  • Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Transit Bus Rollover Crash

Incident Date: November 22, 2010
Issuing Officer: Joe Meinecke
Incident Location: S. 19th and S. Jefferson Street
Incident Type: Transit Bus Rollover

Narrative: At 10:40 a.m. TFD units were dispatched to a reported Pierce County Transit Bus Rollover accident. First arriving companies found a bus that had slid off the road, struck a retaining wall and rolled on its side at one of the entrances to the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

Approximately 15-20 people were on the bus at the time of the accident, and medic crews evaluated and transported 10 of those passengers to local area hospitals as a result of their injuries.

No students or by-standers were injured in the crash.