Arctic Blast Brings Frozen Pipes and Fire Concerns

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LUZERNE COUNTY -- The extreme cold has fire crews busy as pipes freeze and burst, and properties flood.

In some cases, people even start fires trying to thaw their pipes.

Pennsylvania American Water called customers Tuesday, leaving a message warning them to keep their pipes from freezing: “To thaw pipes, apply heat from a hairdryer, a space heater, or hot water. Do not use a torch or open flame.”

Dr. Richard Blum of Kingston has had serious damage from a burst pipe in the past. He has taken precautions.

"Since then, we have insulated the area, insulated the pipe, try to keep the whole area warmer,” said Dr. Blum.

Experts say if you do want to thaw your pipes, make sure the water main is turned off.

Pennsylvania American Water also recommends people leave their water dripping overnight to prevent frozen pipes.

"I've been having all my faucets drip because my pipes have a tendency to freeze up. We have an older Victorian home and occasionally when it really drops down, the pipes will freeze,” said Charles Thomas of West Pittston.

No matter how cold, most people Newswatch 16 spoke with said they would never risk using an open flame to thaw pipes.

"No, definitely not. I try to stay away from fire,” laughed Heidi Schultz of Kingston.

Another option to thaw your pipes is by wrapping special heat tape around a trouble spot. Heat tape is available at most hardware stores.

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