While this past week’s winter storm kept most residents stuck inside their homes, the Little Elm Fire Department was busier than ever.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) initially said would last 15-45 minutes but ultimately lasted for three days or more for some residents.
Some cities issued boil water notices – as of press time Little Elm was not in a boil water notice but Mustang Special Utility District was – as water treatment facilities were shut down. Many residents temporarily lost their water supply.
Because of the lack of electricity and/or water, plus icy conditions, many businesses shut down for two to three days, including restaurants and grocery stores, making it difficult to find food and basic necessities.
Toward the end of the week a new problem emerged – busted water pipes.
According to Erin Mudie, spokeswoman for the town of Little Elm, said the fire department responded to 75 calls this past week related to water leaks and busted pipes.
In fact, overall call volume for the fire department went up during the winter storm.
“Call volume was up,” Mudie said. “On average we see 13 incidents a day. Incident numbers ranged from 13 a day to 87 a day. The previous call volume record was 30 incidents in 24 hours.”
Mudie said the fire department also responded to three house fires in the past week. She said there were no reports of fatalities because of the cold weather.
Mudie said police calls, however, were down.
“Calls are actually lower than a typical week, as most residents abided by our request to stay in and stay off the roadways,” Mudie said, “and the hard work and continuous by our streets department to keep our roadways clear and safe.”
She said from Sunday through Wednesday afternoon there were nine reports of vehicle crashes and eight motorist assist calls.
As a result of the icy conditions and electricity outages, Little Elm ISD cancelled classes – in-person and virtual – through last Friday. The district released a statement saying teachers will communicate new due dates for assignments that were previously due last week.
The town’s trash and recycling services were postponed and will resume Monday.