Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The fire department should fix my water heater

Late Saturday morning I noticed a couple fire trucks on the move. This usually happens only when they have an actual fire to tend to. I assumed that some dumbass sat a space heater next to a towering stack of newspapers and headed outside dressed entirely in Carrhart clothing to walk their six giant dogs. It seems like the type of redneck behavior that would lead to fire trucks having to be dispatched.

Thinking nothing of it, because my house was not smoldering, I loaded up the Toyota crossover and took the child and my old lady to the grocery store because that's about all the excitement someone of my advanced age can handle before noon on a Saturday. After buying about fifteen pounds of meat and getting the child a McMeal we arrived back home.

I had frozen goods to put away and headed down the basement steps to throw some crap in the chest freezer and heard what sounded to be a faucet running at a fairly decent pace. Except it wasn't a faucet and it wasn't exactly headed towards the floor drain. Water was streaming out of the relief pipe of my water heater and running across the floor - finding its own way to nowhere.

Stumped as to what was happening, I did the only logical thing and called my dad. Of course he knew what the likely problem was and posed a solution which lead to me making a trip to the hardware store. And of course the hardware store was out of relief valves for water heaters because - wait for it - about half a dozen other residents from my neighborhood had run in to the same problem. This was all because the fire department - and two others from neighboring cities - filled their tanker trucks numerous times. But this was not for an emergency fire. No, this was for a controlled burn used for training purposes. A controlled burn which blew out relief valves on numerous water heaters and even destroyed a neighbor's water softener.

I support the volunteer firefighters in my city but use a little common sense next time because even now that I can easily fix that portion of my water heater, it doesn't mean that I want to fix it again.

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Bill Roehl said...


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