Mechanics, first responders see uptick in calls during prolonged cold

  • Pedestrians pass by the Spanish War monument in front of the Greenfield public library on Main Street Tuesday, February 7, 2017. Recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Police respond to the scene of a one vehicle accident where a Chevrolet Cobalt crashed into a loading dock on the side of The Barn grocery store on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 on River Street in Greenfield. RECORDER file photo/DAN LITTLE

  • A discarded Christmas tree on Pond Street in Greenfield, Dec. 29, 2017. Recorder file photo/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

GREENFIELD — Wednesday may have been the first day to break 20 degrees in a week, but issues caused by the deep freeze haven’t thawed yet.

While people are trying to solve the cold-weather problems affecting their vehicles and homes, local businesses and first responders have stayed busy the past week.

When Ford of Greenfield received a month’s supply of diesel fuel filters Tuesday, they were sold out in an hour and a half, according to General Manager Tim Lavoie.

“That’ll give you an idea of how much of an issue it is,” Lavoie said, explaining that the filters are needed because diesel fuel tends to coagulate in cold weather. The filters prevent that from affecting the engines.

“Anyone that’s having a hard time with their diesel fuel in this weather is not alone.”

AutoZone on Federal Street sold about 150 batteries and installed about 100 of them this past week, store manager Matt McKenzie said — despite having to turn away 25 to 30 customers in search of a battery for their Hondas.

“We’re having trouble keeping up with it,” McKenzie said of batteries. The store is still well stocked with windshield cleaner fluid and antifreeze.

The bitter weather, combined with two long holiday weekends when people might not have started their car for three days, had contributed to some of the issues people are now wrestling with, McKenzie said.

Although the weather broke out of the teens Wednesday, Franklin County is expected to get anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of snow Thursday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole Belk. In anticipation of bad road conditions Thursday morning, Greenfield School Department canceled classes late in the afternoon Wednesday. Other school districts were expected to follow during the night.

The snow is expected to reduce visibility, Belk said. Wind gusts will climb to 25 to 35 mph in the afternoon. The temperature will then drop overnight to 0 degrees, with a wind chill of negative 15 to 20, and by Friday, the temperature is expected to hold in the single digits. By Monday, the temperature should climb up to about 30 degrees, although there’s a chance of more snow.

Meanwhile, at Koch’s Automotive Inc., Jayme Koch said it’s been “very good for business, but not so good for people.”

“We’re super busy this time of year usually, but it seems like these past couple weeks ... it’s affecting everybody,” Koch said.

The employees have been wearing as many layers as necessary to stay warm. She added, “It’s tough because we’re all tired, but you got to take it when you can get it.”

At the shop, she said the phone has been constantly ringing all day and through the night. For the most part, people have called about their car batteries, she said.

“I’ve noticed, personally, things have been kind of crazy and out of whack,” Koch said.

Greenfield Fire Department has been busier than usual as well, Lt. Peter McIver said.

The department responded to two broken sprinkler system issues Tuesday and one in the middle of last week, he said, which is an uptick from the usual.

“It’s typical we see an occasional sprinkler break due to cold weather,” McIver said. “But the prolonged cold weather definitely does not help.”

He said any unprotected, unheated space is susceptible to that type of issue.

The biggest concern for the Fire Department, though, is carbon monoxide, McIver said. Sometimes, people try to heat their homes with their gas ovens, which he said is highly discouraged and not a safe practice that can lead to carbon monoxide in the home.

With the pending snow, the lieutenant said it’s important to make sure outdoor vents for heating devices are open and as clear as can be so there are less likely to be carbon monoxide issues.

“Lastly, stay warm,” McIver said. “It’s New England weather, and if anybody is stuck out in the cold, certainly seek shelter.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:


413-772-0261, ext. 264