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Dec 10, 2009 10:27 AM by James Jarman

Deep freeze causing trouble, 131 calls for help come in to Springs Utilities

Our deep freeze is causing all kinds of trouble - from broken water lines to gas leaks and of course those dangerously slick roads.

Every plumbing and heating company News First 5 called has all of their crews responding to calls, and Colorado Springs Utilities is busy too.

A Utilities Spokesman says that since the dangerous cold hit overnight, they've been called out to fix 131 different problems.

Those include: 50 calls from people who have no water or their water pipes froze; 36 calls for water leaks; 29 gas leaks; 2 water main breaks.  And you can add hundreds more calls because these were just calls to Springs Utilities as of Wednesday afternoon.  It doesn't include private companies.

It also doesn't include a sprinkler system that broke Wednesday night inside a vacant office building at the Citadel Crossing.  Firefighters say 100-thousand square feet of office space was covered with 6 inches of water.

Earlier in the afternoon we caught up with Springs Utilities crews fixing a broken water line at Platte and Murray.

Utilities Supervisor Robert Powell says one crew was called out to a broken water main at 2 am, but it was so cold they had trouble with their trucks. "All 3 of those vehicles were gelling up. Diesel was turning into gel... they couldn't keep things running," he said.

He also said it can be dangerous working outside in below zero temps with icy water.  "Very hazardous, you know, just the wind alone, I mean the sun could be shining but it's still could be minus 10," he told NF5, "and we have to stay here until we get the pipe fixed and the water back on."

Utilities crews say it usually takes 4-6 hours to fix a broken water main, but in conditions like we're seeing it can sometimes take twice that long.

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