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Good Question ‘Reply All’: Gas Meters, 3-Alarm Fires & Hat Tricks

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This one came to us without a name, but it’s from someone who wanted to know: How do they read our gas meters?

CenterPoint Energy media relations says 93 percent of meters are electronic and wirelessly send a signal to a truck driving in their neighborhood that will pick up the read. The other 7 percent aren’t yet outfitted with that capability, and a meter reader must walk up to the house, take a look at meter and enter the data into a handheld device. That information is later uploaded once that person returns to the office.

The New Year’s Day fire in Minneapolis Cedar-Riverside area was a three-alarm fire. The Minneapolis Fire Department says it only handles about two or so fires of that complexity every year. So that had Alan from Hanley Falls wondering: How do they determine three-alarm fires?

According to Minneapolis Assistant Chief Charles Brynteson, all structure fires with people inside are an automatic one-alarm fire. That’s when three engines, two trucks, one rescue, one mobile command, two battalion chiefs and a deputy chief are sent. Any structure over four stories is an automatic two-alarm fire. Brynteson says once a chief assesses the situation on-site, he or she can request more crews. A two-alarm would add three additional rigs and a three-alarm would add another three more.

Bill from Brooklyn Park and Steve from Savage were watching the Wild game last Saturday when Ryan Suter scored the first Wild hat trick at the Xcel in the past four years. They were wondering: What does the Wild do with all of the hats?

Travis Larson, Xcel Energy Center’s ice operations manager, personally counts all the hats. There were 102 for last Saturday’s game. Then, the Wild will donate 102 brand-new Wild hats to charity. This time around, it’ll be split between the Children’s Pediatric Cancer Research Center, the University of Minnesota Pediatric Cancer Research Center and the Ronald McDonald House.

As for the original hats – some of which can be a little dirty – they are recycled.

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