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Herkimer Fire and some tips to keep you safe

The cold temperatures are already starting to freeze pipes. The City of Utica already has experienced a water main break, and frozen pipes appear to be the cause of a fire in Herkimer. Kirk Tupaj has a few hot tips to keep you out of the cold.

Posted: Dec 29, 2017 6:04 PM
Updated: Dec 29, 2017 6:10 PM

The temperature is dropping and will get well below zero this weekend. One of the bigger problems with those sub-zero temperatures is freezing pipes. This fire on Pleasant Street in Herkimer appears to have been started by trying to thaw frozen pipes.

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelmer explains what he believes caused this fire.
"We believe that the landlord was possibly using a torch to thaw pipes. At this point he’s not admitting to it. We’ve checked the other apartments and they’re not fit for human habitation, so we’re going to be shutting this down."

Because of the fire, several people are now displaced. The Red Cross is assisting the families at this time, but knowing this fire could have been avoided isn’t sitting well with Claude Bruce Jr.. This is his third time out on the street because of fire.

"It’s very frustrating. This is the third apartment building that has caught fire that I’ve resided in and my family’s resided in in this town, and it just… it seems like every single time we get set up we get knocked back."

Here’s a few things to keep in mind so you don’t end up out in the cold:

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
Never use your stove to heat your home. It can build up carbon monoxide and kill you.
Make sure your chimney is cleaned and inspected before starting a fire in a fireplace. Chimney fires can spread to upper floors or attic areas undetected, or until it’s too late.
Test smoke alarms once a month.
Call a plumber to get those frozen pipes thawed out.

Utica's Deputy Fire Chief Scott Ingersoll has seen the devestation it can cause.
"We have had fires in the past where people have taken torches into areas that they really shouldn’t have torches and cause a fire in their house."

One last thing to remember: use extreme caution when using kerosene or space heaters.

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