Pipes crack, bones break under intense cold in Northwest Interior



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Posted on November 23, 2010 at 8:29 PM

EVERETT, Wash. – Bitter cold was anticipated across Western Washington Tuesday night, but the lowest temperatures were expected in the Northwest Interior.

Monte Brownlee is one homeowner who has already had it with the cold. He heard a hissing sound in his bathroom.

"I went in there and opened up the sink and water was just spraying out," said Brownlee. A pipe under his house froze and cracked.

Business is picking up for local plumbers. They say you can save yourself a phone call and some money just by remembering to keep the area around your pipes warm and keep water trickling through the faucet.

With temperatures in the teens and 20s, you'd think the biggest injury issue is frostbite. But it's actually injuries from slipping on the ice.

"Broken bones, and the main thing is broken hips. Broken hips are really a severe injury for the elderly," said Dr. Yuan-Po Tu with the Everett Clinic.

Fire departments also warn that space heaters are the cause of a lot of house fires. Here are some space heater safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:



  • Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features.
  • Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Turn the heater off if you leave the area.


  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
  • Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
  • Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.