Skip to Content

Local fire officials talk about ice safety as temperatures warm up

Stephen Lake Park sign, February 20, 2021 Columbia, MO


Fire officials warn about icy road conditions remaining in some areas, damaged pipes and safety icy ponds and rivers.

Brad Fraizer, the Assistant Fire Chief for the Columbia Fire Department says drivers need to remain cautious on roads, especially bridges as some areas still have not thawed out completely.

"Even though we're seeing warmer temperatures were still seeing slick areas where ice is not completely melted, there's also black ice, black ice is hard to see, it blends in with the roadways. We still encourage everyone to drive safely, be careful when you're crossing bridges, they will ice over quicker and stay iced over longer," Fraizer said.

The Assistant Fire Chief at Boone County Fire Protection District Gale Blomenkamp says roads and bridges are still a concern, but pipe bursts are becoming a common issue throughout the county.

Bolemkamp says during this winter weather event, the department received more calls for house fires than anything else, due to people trying to unthaw their frozen pipes.

He says many people were trying to unthaw frozen pipes with a heater in crawl spaces which is combustible. He advises calling a professional when it comes to dealing with frozen or damaged pipes.

Blomenkamp says the department expects to see many homes dealing with damaged pipes as temperatures continue to warm up.

"Over the next few days we're going to start seeing more burst pipes and people that had frozen pipes that are broken those are going to become evident when things start thawing out, so people just need to use caution, secure their power call 911 if you need experienced people to come out and take care of it with you and obviously call your water service provider," Blomenkamp said.

As we approach warmer temperatures, many parks that offered ice skating and ice fishing activities have closed. Stephens Lake Park opened its lake up for hockey and ice skating earlier this week but closed once temperatures began to warm up.

The park opened for public ice skating last Friday. The below freezing temperatures created a 4 inch layer of ice over the lake, which is the minimal level for ice skating and ice fishing. The park ended ice activities on Thursday, when temperatures depleted the ice depth at the lake.

Fire officials say for those still participating in any ice activities, there are some safety precautions.

Officials say if you plan to go out on ice, never go alone. Fraizer says if someone happens to fall in the first thing to do is call 911 immediately.

"Don't try to go out and retrieve a person that's fallen through the ice or a pet for that matter, we see a lot of pets falling through ice. It's very common for 'would-be rescuers' to turn into victims," said Fraizer.

Blomenkamp says if two or more people are on the ice to make sure to spread out and ensure the ice is at least 4 inches deep, which is the minimum to safely walk on.

"If you're the one that falls through immediately turn around, try to lay your hands out flat on the ice surface and try to kick your feet and get yourself back up on the ice, once you're on the ice roll yourself back to shore. If you can't, if you're going out there take some long nails or ice picks with you that way you can pull yourself back up," said Blomenkamp.

Officials say it is best not to get out on the ice during warming temperatures as ice may appear to be thick enough to get on, but could be melted and thin.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Victoria Bragg

Victoria Bragg joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in October 2020.

She is a graduate of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas and is a Dallas native.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content