Attempt to thaw frozen water pipes leads to Hutchinson house fire

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) An attempt to thaw frozen water pipes led to a house fire in Hutchinson Wednesday morning.

Around 4:30 a.m., the Hutchinson Fire Department was called to a home in the 700 block of W. 11th Street.

Crews arrived on the scene to find heavy smoke coming from the home. They worked quickly to contain the fire but the home sustained heavy smoke damage.

Initial reports were that children were in the home, but everyone made it out of the house safely.

The fire department says the family escaped wearing only the clothes on their back.

The Red Cross was notified to offer assistance. The family was able to stay warm in the early morning frigid temperatures in their vehicle.

The fire department says the home did have working smoke detectors.

The cause of the fire is believed to stem from thawing out frozen water pipes earlier in the day.

This is the second fire in the past two days that was related to the thawing out of frozen pipes.

Ways to unfreeze frozen pipes
The American Red Cross says the best way to thaw frozen pipes is to wrap them with an electric heating pad, towels soaked in hot water, use an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials).

"Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or another open flame device," says the organization. "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."