A man trying to thaw a frozen water line is believed to have caused a fire at a Faribault mobile home Tuesday morning.
Moderate smoke was coming from the home when Faribault fire fighters arrived at the mobile home at 1407 Hullet Ave. in the Cannon River Trailer Park about 11:15 a.m.
Faribault Police officers confirmed with a neighbor that no one was in the home while fire fighters made a quick knock down of the fire from the exterior and then made an interior attack/search to verify that no one was in the structure and to completely extinguish the fire.
A man who was burned as he tried to extinguish the fire reportedly went by private vehicle to District One Hospital where he was treated and released. The Red Cross has offered to assist to the family.
Fire Chief Dustin Dienst said that the man had removed skirting from around the base of the mobile home and was using a space heater to thaw the pipes. The man reportedly left for the hospital after he was burned, not realizing that the fire traveled up through a hole in the flooring and into a child’s bedroom where it smoldered and grew.
While the home’s exterior appears unscathed, the interior is badly burned or has smoke damage, he said.
“Thankfully, the occupant of the home was not burned worse. This fire, as with all house fires, creates sad situations, especially around the holidays,” said Dienst.
The family is staying with a friend. Ramos said the community has been very supportive since the fire.
“They’re amazing,” she said. “I didn’t realize there was so many people with such big hearts. I guess I’m glad it happened in this community if it was going to happen at all.”
Anyone looking to donate clothes or anything else can text or call Ramos at 507-369-0248.
“What didn’t get burned in the fire has smoke damage so we really don’t have anything,” Ramos said. “We don’t have clothes, we don’t have blankets, we don’t have towels, we don’t have anything. I don’t even know where to start, but I’m not usually one to ask for help.”
Prevent frozen pipes
The Red Cross offers these tips to keep pipes from freezing:
• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
• When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. Temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, may mean a higher heating bill, but prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How to thaw frozen pipes
The chief reminds residents not to use an open flame to thaw pipes. He prefers heat tape.
“It’s slower, but safer,” he said.
From the Red Cross:
• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
• 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, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device.
• Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
• Check all other faucets in your home to find out if there are additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.