Frozen Pipes Lead to House Fire in Henrico

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — No one was injured during a house fire that officials say was caused by a plumber’s torch that was being used to thaw out frozen pipes.

Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Henrico County Division of Fire units responded to the 4100 block of Round Tree road for a report of a house fire.

First arriving units reported smoke coming from the rear of the house. Inside the home, crews found that a fire in the kitchen of the single-story home had been put out.

The fire, which started under the house in the crawl space, was determined to have been accidental in nature and caused by heat from a plumber’s torch that set the underside of the house on hire. The torch was being used in attempt to thaw out frozen water pipes in the crawl space.

The flames traveled from under the house and started up the side of the home before being put out. The fire was marked under control at 3:19 p.m.

The family will not be displaced due to the quick extinguishment of the fire.

Fire units would like to remind the public that if your pipes do freeze, do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. Heat from any of these devices can very easily set materials under a house on fire.  Heat can travel along the pipes and set materials inside a wall on fire and smolder for hours before being discovered.

What to do if your pipes do freeze:

·    Keep the faucet open. As the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
·    Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
·    A portable space heater, kept away from flammable materials, can be used to warm under the house.  Never leave the heater unattended.
·    Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you cannot find the frozen area, if the area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

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