Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) crews responded to another water-related incident caused by cold weather on Feb. 15, when a sprinkler system was accidentally activated in the Real Canadian Superstore just off Veterans Boulevard.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Garth Rabel, the incident occurred shortly before 11 a.m., near the grocery store’s west entrance.
“In this case, it was a large water supply in the ceiling area at the west entrance vestibule, which ruptured and caused a large displacement of water,” he said. “Some folks had evacuated and got out of the building, or hadn’t entered the building yet.”
Rabel said the grocery store’s management team had already taken control of shutting off the water supply by the time AFD crews arrived, so the residual water that was already in the system was leaving the system as it deployed out.
“Clean-up in that area was done by the Superstore team and the sprinkler system was taken off the line temporarily while it was repaired, so a fire warden or fire watch had to be in place as long as the building was occupied – just in case something happened, they could notify people to get out,” he said. “That’s pretty standard procedure.”
The recent cold snap in Airdrie resulted in multiple instances that were similar to what Superstore experienced. On Feb. 8, a sprinkler system was accidentally activated at Our Lady Queen of Peace School, which led to property damage and the students being evacuated to nearby Ralph McCall School.
Rabel said AFD responded to water-related calls from households and apartment dwellers during the cold snap, as well.
While the frigid temperatures have passed, Rabel warns other issues related to water pipes and temperature changes could be afoot.
“Of course, as we start to heat up now, things will start to expand, ice will start to move and things will unfortunately start to break,” he said.
“That’s unfortunately typical of extreme cold weather,” he said.
In order to prevent water damage to your property, Rabel said AFD has some tips for households to consider for the next cold snap. He said residents should know where their main water shut-off valve is located, ensure water lines adjacent to exterior walls are properly insulated, disconnect exterior garden hoses and isolate water flow to exterior faucets.
Other tips, he said, include repairing known leaks, maintaining a consistent thermostat setting and keeping the garage door closed.