Burst pipes weren’t just the bane of homeowners and apartment dwellers during our recent cold snap. They also kept Poudre Fire Authority especially busy.
PFA spokesperson Annie Bierbower said firefighters responded to 41 calls of frozen fire suppression sprinkler lines bursting Feb. 11-19, including 24 on Feb. 16 and 14 on Feb. 15.
The agency, which serves Fort Collins as well as Timnath and other areas within the Poudre Valley Fire Protection District, had six such calls in the four months before the record-setting cold snap.
“It was a stress on the system to have such a large influx of calls, but we didn’t have to call in any extra shifts,” Bierbower said. “It was very unique because of the long stretch of cold, and then the warmer temperatures contributed to the problems.”
There were four consecutive nights of low temperatures below 0 degrees Feb. 12-15, with Feb. 15 plummeting to minus-11.
On Feb. 16, the high temperature reached 40 degrees, the warmest high temperature in two weeks. That warm-up triggered frozen pipes to burst.
Bierbower said when frozen sprinkler lines burst, they send an activation call to firefighters. She said others called 911 to report the burst pipes. The responses were to commercial and multifamily residential buildings.
Typically, frozen pipes are caused by heaters going out, inadequate insulation, doors being left open and a lack of maintenance, Bierbower said.
PFA recommends commercial and multifamily residential fire sprinkler systems to be checked regularly to avoid problems.
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