Heater thawing pipes sparks Terrebonne fire

Officials warn: Space heaters need clear space

KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 4:28 PM PST December 24, 2013    UPDATED: 8:55 AM PST December 10, 2013 
Terrebonne fire Travis Schwerbel
TERREBONNE, Ore. -

A Terrebonne couple using a space heater to try to thaw frozen pipes beneath their manufactured home instead sparked a fire that caused $40,000 damage late Monday morning, fire officials said as they warned people to be extremely cautious where they put such devices.

The couple and their dog fled safely when smoke began coming through the floor of their double-wide home around 11:45 a.m

About a dozen firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze in the crawlspace beneath it, said Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper, adding that there were no injuries reported.

However, the interior of the house sustained smoke damage from the fire, which caused an estimated $40,000 in losses.

An American Red Cross disaster action team responded to the scene to provide help with lodging, food, clothing and information about health services, a spokeswoman said.

Cooper said pipes under the home had frozen, and the owners were trying to thaw them out with a space heater. It appeared the heater had been placed too close to combustible materials, which ignited.

Redmond Fire and Rescue reminded everyone that heating appliances and devices need clear space around them.

“We recommend at least three feet from any combustibles,” Cooper said.

Mutual aid assistance also was provided by Crooked River Ranch Fire and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department.