2 people, 2 dogs OK after house fire; 'improper thawing' of pipes blamed

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A fire at a Duluth residence caused $37,000 in damage, and started due to "improper thawing of frozen pipes," the city's fire department says.

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In a news release, authorities say firefighters responded to the blaze on the 6100 block of Cody Street just after midnight Sunday.

When they arrived, two people and two dogs inside the two-story home at the time evacuated after unsuccessfully trying to put out the fire. None were injured.

Firefighters found the fire in the upstairs bathroom – it then extended to the attic and exterior of the house.

A crew of 19 firefighters were on the scene for two hours, with temps dipping to negative 15 degrees, the release say – they were able to extinguish the blaze, which did an estimated $37,000 in damage.

The fire department says the cause is believed to be "improper thawing of frozen pipes."

Dealing with frozen pipes

If you do get frozen pipes, the Red Cross has some suggested warming methods – but also lists a couple things you should not do, including using a blowtorch, kerosene, charcoal stove or another open-flame device.

One plumber told the Pioneer Press a couple years ago a hair dryer is one of the most efficient ways to get things moving again (though that doesn't help if the frozen pipe is outside your home and underground).

The Red Cross also has some tips on how to help deter frozen pipes, including:

  • Letting water trickle when it's extremely cold.
  • Insulating pipes (even with some newspaper) in areas of your home that get cold.
  • Keeping cupboard doors where pipes are located open, to let warm air circulate.

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