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Attempt to thaw pipe leads to house fire

February 10, 2010 - A house caught fire in Addison Twp. after an attempt was made to heat a frozen pipe with a blowtorch on Friday, Feb. 5.

Addison Twp. Fire Department responded to a call in the 900 block of E. Leonard Rd. after the homeowner smelled smoke in the basement.

According to Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski, who was first on scene, he could see smoke coming from the basement.

According to the report, the fire started after someone tried to thaw an exterior pipe on the side of the house with heat tape and a blowtorch. As a result, a wall caught on fire.

The homeowners thought the fire was out, but it continued to burn.

The fire traveled up the wall on the side of the house and headed into the attic.

Firefighters from Addison and Oxford were able to put out the blaze and save the house. Nobody was injured in the fire.

"The guys did a really good job," Morawski said.

The estimated damage to the house is around $25,000. An investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff's Fire Investigation Unit ruled the cause as accidental.

The house is a two-story, 100-year-old structure with a balloon frame.

Morawski recommended that if someone needs to thaw a pipe, the best way to do it would be to contact a professional plumber and have him do the work.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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