Another pipe-thawing mishap leads to a house fire, says Ithaca Fire Department

March 6, 2015 by Rachel Cera

"The Ithaca Fire Department again reminds everyone to not use open flames to thaw pipes," says a statement from IFD, understandably exasperated after what seems like another attempt to thaw a frozen pipe resulted in a fire that shut down North Cayuga Street earlier this afternoon.

Photo courtesy IFD.Photo courtesy IFD.IFD public information officer Lt. Thomas T. Basher Jr. says firefighters arrived on the scene in Fall Creek at about 1:15, after a report came in of an apartment house filling with smoke in the 400 block of North Cayuga Street. Crews shut down the block and were kept busy for about an hour.

Basher says "firefighters quickly got inside to douse the flames in the first floor bathroom and look for any occupants." The fire was brought under control in about a half hour as crews outside removed a section of wall to extinguish the remaining flames. The bathroom was a total loss, and other apartments suffered smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, "but appears to be a plumber thawing pipes," Basher says.

IFD suggests using a hair dryer, instead of open flame, to thaw frozen pipes. "It takes longer, but is much safer."

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