Frozen pipes burst across Denver as city thaws from record cold temps

As the Denver metro area thaws out after a frigid weekend frozen pipes are bursting, keeping plumbers, emergency responders and firefighters busy.

On Tuesday afternoon in Denver the fire department had three crews, four firefighters per crew, responding to reports of “burst pipes with water gushing out,” said Capt. Greg Pixley, a fire department spokesman.

An afternoon telephone call to a local plumber was parked in a voice mail response with potential customers put on hold “due to the large volume of calls,” a voice mail said.

If you do it yourself, shut off the water first. You don't want water suddenly gushing from the pipe when it thaws.

— Denver Water 💦 (@DenverWater) February 15, 2021

Temperatures in the metro area starting late last week stayed below freezing with overnight low temperatures setting records in some areas, including a reading of minus 16 in Denver. Wind chill factors dropped the dangerously cold temps even lower.

When pipes first freeze the problem isn’t necessarily apparent, it’s when the pipe thaws that the damage typically comes to play with water streaming through the burst pipe.

On Tuesday afternoon the temperature in Denver was 38 degrees at about 2 p.m. and pipes were bursting in homes and businesses.

“If somebody needs help we are going to be there,” Pixley said. “We cant remedy all of the damage but we can relieve some of the damage.”

Firefighters often initially turn off the water supply main to a home where residents don’t know where it is located, or they can’t get to it, Pixley. Firefighters sometimes help remove damaged, water-logged carpeting and flooring and deploy fans to help dry out the flooded area.

We have a motto, “Leave it better than you found it,” Pixley said.

Among Denver businesses the reported damage on Tuesday was White Pie Pizza, which was “working on a fix and will reopen as (soon) as possible. The Auraria Higher Education Campus, near downtown Denver, also experienced pipes bursting.

Pipes that have burst are repaired by plumbers and businesses that specialize in “emergency water damage repair.” Some remediation efforts may include measures to combat mold.

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