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Cold means business for plumbers

Wisconsin and Southern Railway workers Stacey Hurda, left, and Brady Whipple work to thaw a frozen power switch which controls a track changeout in Madison, Wis., Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

Wisconsin and Southern Railway workers Stacey Hurda (left) and Brady Whipple work to thaw a frozen power switch in Madison on Monday. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Plumbers worked to thaw frozen house pipes and utility crews raced to restore power in the Dodge County area, as an arctic chill continued to shroud Wisconsin in subzero temperatures Tuesday.

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning through noon, and schools districts in Milwaukee and Madison remained closed. But the frigid temperatures meant good business for plumbers and tow truck drivers.

Carl’s Plumbing Services in Milwaukee was inundated with calls reporting burst or frozen pipes, and the Milwaukee company’s six plumbers raced from one call to another, said Brian Czerwonka, the company’s vice president. He said business began picking up Monday afternoon, but that things were even busier on Tuesday after more than 24 hours of prolonged cold.

“There were a few burst pipes and a lot of frozen pipes,” he said.

Temperatures dipped to 26 below zero at Phillips early Tuesday and 24 below at Hayward and Ladysmith.

About 1,000 homes and businesses in Dodge County lost power Tuesday morning, mainly in the town of Clyman near Watertown. We Energies crews were working to restore service.

About 900 other customers in Monona also lost power overnight but Madison Gas & Electric brought in extra employees who worked in the bitter cold to get the power back on, WKOW-TV reported.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities, but Beloit police arrested a mother after two young children, a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old, were found alone in a cold car in a Walmart parking lot. The mother told authorities she left the children in the vehicle with its engine off while she shopped Monday evening when temperatures were well below zero. WKOW-TV reported the children were OK.

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