From the frozen pipes to a stoppage in logging, the cold played havoc on Fort St. James last week. As temperatures dropped to -40 the previously dependable machines became less dependable and, in some cases stopped working.
The Regional office received calls from residents stuck without water because their pipes were frozen, and there’s no plumber in the Fort to call.
Sales of area heaters, a method of warming up pipes to thaw the water or simply giving a room the extra heat needed to live comfortably with such harsh temperatures, have skyrocketed according to Macleod’s True Value hardware. They sold as many heaters by noon on Wednesday as they had the previous week.
The cold also stranded people at home with vehicles that wouldn’t start, sending Andrew Hill, of Stuart Lake Automotive Specialists out into the cold to try to coax vehicles to life.
With 20 house calls, compared to 2 a week in normal weather, and a parking lot full of cars that need attention the cold has kept Stuart Lake Automotive busy.
“The last two days have been pretty hectic,” said Hill.
The problems are the same weak points mechanics remind people to get checked every year.
“It’s lots of bad batteries and lots of block heaters that aren’t working,” said Hill
Logging companies had similar problems with equipment.
“There’s a loss of production because equipment is down, won’t start or isn’t worth starting because the strain on the equipment isn’t worth it,” said to Darren McQueen of Stones Bay Holding.
Busses stopped running when the mercury hit it’s lowest point, and kids in school were kept in during lunch hour due to the weather.
The cool temperatures didn’t stay at the Fort for long. By press time the cold was beginning to let up and temperatures were predicted to rise.