Businesses see spike in service calls with icy and cold conditions


Posted on January 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 11:40 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- The icy and frigid weather is keep most people inside. However, it's a different story for some businesses being slammed with calls for service.

"The driving conditions were so bad, people were hitting the ice and side of the bridge," said Rony Polizzi with Rony's Towing and Recovery.

Slick driving conditions like the one that caused a multi-car pile-up on Paris Road Bridge last Friday continue to keep Polizzi's company busy. The last 24 hours have been no different.

"There were really a lot of stranded vehicles in roadways. That's why we were out trying to give people a hand and get them out of harms way," Polizzi said.

On Wednesday the New Orleans business owner spent part of the afternoon dropping off a car with what appeared to be a dead battery at a Mid-City mechanic.

"It doesn't want to start. She tried to start it this morning and couldn't start it," said Polizzi, who expects to see more calls like that in the next few days when drivers try starting up their cars.

The cold weather isn't just causing car problems. Homeowners are also feeling the chill.

"This control panel got hit by the surge when the power went off since there was so much ice on the lines," said Chris Raspino with Stuart Services pointing out damage to a furnace inside a Metairie home where temperatures dropped when the heating went off.

As heating systems run longer than normal, furnaces can feel the strain, Raspino said.

"We're having some motors burn up. We're having some items on the furnace that are not cooperating with the customers. So that's drawing a large quantity of service calls," said Raspino, adding answering calls has been slow going because of road closures.

Even for the pros who continue to answer your calls, icy conditions are obstacles they can't avoid.

"When you come on Claiborne on the on-ramp there were a few stalled vehicles. You can only do 5 or 10 miles per hour. I was going slow. I just caught the ice. I hit the brakes and it kept going. I turned the wheel and went into the bridge," Polizzi said, pointing out front-end damage to his tow truck.