CLEVELAND (WJW) — The extreme cold caused for a busy day for the Cleveland Division of Fire. They had to rescue people trapped in their cars after a water main break. Firefighters are now reminding people to never drive through standing water.
Photos captured the heroic moments the Cleveland fire department rescued three people Saturday morning. Two cars got stuck in water on East 152nd and Woodworth. One man climbed out of his sunroof before being rescued. The second car had a father and his 14-year-old son.
“We had our Technical Rescue Squad 1 who are some of our highest trained firefighters in the Cleveland Division of Fire,” said Lt. Mike Norman. He is the Public Information Officer for the Cleveland Fire Department. “They responded, Ladder 31 responded, as well as the Chief of the 6th Battalion.”
The firefighters were able to rescue the people without any of them getting wet thanks to their rapid deployment craft. It’s also known as their banana boat and it can deploy within 45 seconds.
“Being a port city and a lake city it’s important that we’re always ready for these water rescues,” said Lt. Norman. “Whether it’s on the lake, on the river or on the roads.”
Cleveland Water Department says a water main break at Collamer and Euclid caused the issue. The water ran downhill and collected at the scene. They say when the air temperature drops below 32 degrees the water in the soil starts to freeze. That puts more pressure on the water mains.
During the winter there is an average of five to seven water breaks daily in Cleveland. So if one happens near you, firefighters want to make sure you don’t drive through it.
“If you can’t see the concrete underneath you then you don’t know how deep that is,” said Lt. Norman. “There might be a sinkhole there, there may be a chuckhole, we just don’t know. We definitely don’t want people to ever drive into standing water.”
The extreme cold causes a lot of issues on the roads but it also leaves a big impact on our homes. Fortunately there are ways to help prevent our pipes at home from freezing.
“You want to make sure your pipes are insulated,” said Norman. “Make sure if you have pipes that extend like a faucet on the outside, that is shut off on the inside. That will help keep that from freezing.”
Also make sure your car is prepared with blankets and flashlights and that your phone is fully charged. That way if something like this happens to you, you’ll be ready.
Firefighters say if you are stuck in standing water the most important thing is for you to stay dry. So as long as the water is not coming into your car you’ll be safest staying in the car until firefighters can get to you.