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Firefighters brave extreme weather to keep people safe

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Posted at 2:22 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 16:22:47-05

BELT — The extreme cold gripping Montana is not just dangerous, it also makes working outside difficult.

On Monday morning, firefighters in Belt were called to a reported house fire. "It was caused from trying to defrost frozen pipes. they used too large of a heating device,” Belt Fire Chief Travis Johnson said.

Insulation under the home and the skirting around the home caught fire.

"We've been very fortunate here in Belt to have trucks that have heated pumps. that's our biggest thing is pumps freeze up before we even get to a scene,” Johnson said.

The fire department was also fortunate the fire was close to the station, further reducing the possibility of pumps potentially freezing up.

Johnson said other departments called in to help may not have been so lucky.

"We did have some mutual aid units come in from Sand Coulee and Malmstrom. We were able to cancel them in plenty of time, so hopefully they don't have any damage,” said Johnson.

He added that firefighters try to rotate as much as possible and use mutual aid in the extreme cold so firefighters can take breaks and warm up.

No one was hurt in the fire and the home is still habitable.

If your pipes do freeze, Great Falls plumber John Kindred recommends not using a flame to defrost them. Instead use a hair dryer or something similar.