Muskoka To-DAILY

Cold snap sees trailer park homeowner spark house fire trying to thaw pipes with blow torch

GRAVENHURST – That cold snap you’re hearing all about just might be your pipes breaking if you’re not careful, fire officials in Gravenhurst remind everyone.

They say that just after 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3, the Gravenhurst Fire Department was called out to the report of a structure fire in a mobile home park on Highway 11 South, after the homeowner attempted to thaw some frozen pipes with a torch. 

Inadvertently some insulation was set on fire. Luckily, in this instance the fire did not progress past the initial bit of insulation and there was no damage to the interior of the home.

“This was a close call and could have been much worse,” said Rob King, fire prevention officer.

He said “once the homeowner realized some insulation had caught fire he quickly used the family’s home escape planning to evacuate his family from the home while calling 911 and gathering the family at their meeting place to await the fire department’s arrival.”

King said what the homeowner did after noticing the fire was “textbook fire safety planning”.

With the type of cold weather we are experiencing in Gravenhurst this winter, he offers some tips on how to thaw frozen pipes safely courtesy of the Red Cross:

Keep a faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and 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 cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

For tips and advice on cold weather emergencies please visit 

Or contact King at the Gravenhurst Fire Department, 705-687-3414 ext. 223 or email him at

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Posted by on Jan 6 2014. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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