News, Police/Fire

How frozen pipes led to a house fire in Nahant

Firefighters battle a Wilson Road fire in Nahant Monday afternoon

NAHANT — A three-alarm fire that burned through a Wilson Road home for more than three hours on Monday started because of frozen pipes.

An investigation by the State Fire Marshal revealed the fire was caused by workers who were trying to thaw out frozen pipes, said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the Department of Fire Safety.

“This bitter cold brings the risk of frozen pipes,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey in a statement. “As difficult as that situation is, it is important not to make a bad situation worse. Many people cause fires trying to thaw frozen pipes.”

Ostroskey recommends letting water trickle from the faucet when the temperature drops. Opening the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, keeping the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night, and leaving the heat on at a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit helps to prevent pipes from freezing.

To thaw pipes that are already frozen, locate the pipe, keep the faucet open, and apply heat to the section of the pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked with hot water, he said.

Blowtorches, kerosene and propane heaters, charcoal stoves, and other open-flame devices should never be used.

The fire in Nahant drew several crews from seven cities and towns. Firefighters responded from  Lynn, Nahant, Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynnfield, Saugus, and Revere.

No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze and police evacuated all workers before the Fire Department arrived, said Chief Michael Feinberg.

Neighbors say the house recently underwent renovations, and they believe it is a summer home. The five-bedroom structure with ocean views was sold in September 2016 for $600,000, according to Patriot Properties.

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