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It's so cold in Baltimore County that two fire hydrants froze shut

A cascade of ice is seen on a frozen fire hydrant at North Bond and East Lanvale streets in Baltimore on Thursday.
A cascade of ice is seen on a frozen fire hydrant at North Bond and East Lanvale streets in Baltimore on Thursday. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Two fire hydrants froze while firefighters attempted to put out a blaze in Baltimore County on Thursday night, according to department spokesman Tim Rostkowski.

The fire was on Cantwell Road near Windsor Mill. Firefighters who arrived at the scene tried the first two hydrants and found them frozen. Fortunately, Rostkowski said, a third hydrant was found to be functioning, providing a water source.

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“It certainly could have been [a problem] if we were unable to secure water,” Rostkowski said. He said it was the first time in his career he had heard of two fire hydrants simultaneously freezing up.

December, January and February are typically the busiest months for fire departments, and they can also be the most treacherous for those battling blazes.

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Frozen ladders, hoses, hydrants and pumps add hurdles for firefighters in freezing weather.

Typically, fire hydrants do not freeze because the water valve is below the frost line, but sometimes a slight leak can cause them to freeze shut. In such cases, crews might start battling the fire with water pumps and tanks stored inside firetrucks.

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