Austin Fire Department sees increase in broken water pipes

The record breaking winter weather has the Austin Fire Department on high alert. Fire crews have responded to multiple weather related incidents since Tuesday.

AFD Division Chief Palmer Buck said they’ve seen an uptick in broken water pipes and city main breaks.

Fire crews responded to a fire call on the 1300 block of San Bernard Wednesday afternoon. The owner of the home said he was putting away groceries when someone knocked on his door to tell him his house was on fire. He, a friend and his dog were able to exit the home safely. 

Buck said the fire was contained to the attic and the home would lose power for the night. AFD will investigate the cause. Buck said at first glance the fire may have been caused by an electrical short.

"Anytime people are drawing more power for whatever reason we see more potential for electrical shorts and certainly with these cold snaps everyone is doing everything they can to stay warm," Buck said.

Buck said battling fires during the winter can be challenging for firefighters because of the freezing temperatures. 

"We are just reminding our people that when they work in these conditions to do something that they are not used to which is paying attention to where you footing is and with the ice," said Buck.

AFD is reminding the public to take care of their homes during the winter. Allow faucets to drip to prevent freezing, keep combustibles away from heating sources and don’t leave items on the stove unattended.

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