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Structure blaze destroys mobile Wellington home

Wellington firefighters work to put out a blaze that was started by a errant torch being used to unthaw frozen pipes.

Sun Advocate community editor

A home was lost on the first day of the new year as a trailer burned to the ground at the East Ridge Mobile Home Park on Jan. 1. While the trailer burned to the ground no one was injured in the blaze.

"There was no chance to save the structure," said Wellington Police Sgt. Kelly Maynes. "By the time the neighbors had called in the fire, the structure was totally engulfed and by the time the fire department made it to the fire everything had burned."

According to the Wellington incident report, a maintenance worker at the park was using a propane torch to try and de-thaw some pipes under the trailer when the structure caught fire.

"Once those synthetic materials catch fire there really is no chance of saving the building," explained Maynes. "One positive to come out of the incident was the fact that no one was injured. But I would like to take this opportunity make sure everyone knows that it is best to preform preventative maintenance before the cold really sets in."

Several fire safety sites found on the net demonstrated the hazard that propane heaters can cause when used to thaw any material near a home. This hazard is expounded when used next to trailers which tend to be made of materials which are highly flammable and burn at high temperatures.

In addition to propane torches coal and wood burning can be dangerous if not used properly.

"With the high cost of heating homes, wood and coal burning stoves can be a efficient alternative heat source; however these heating appliances can create a high fire risk if precautions are not taken," said Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont. "Here is a short list of safety considerations which should be taken should you choose to use your coal or wood burning stove."

•Have the chimney cleaned by a licensed contractor.

•If burning coal in the stove, make sure the appliance is rated for the higher temperatures produced by the fuel. Coal burns at roughly twice the temperature of wood.

•Make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls and ceilings.

•Place the stove on a noncombustible, fire-resistant base.

•Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood to help prevent embers or sparks from escaping onto the rug or furniture.

•Place a screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from escaping onto the rug or furniture.

•Have a pair of heat-proof gloves and fireplace implements ready in case a red hot ember falls out of the stove or fireplace.

•Keep the fireplace damper fully open when the fireplace is in use. This helps to prevent creosote buildup on chimney walls.

•Dispose of ashes properly after they are allowed to cool and placed in a closed metal container outside and away from the home.

•Don't start a stove or fireplace fire and flammable fluids, such as gasoline.

•Don't leave you children unattended near the stove or fireplace.

•Don't burn pressure treated wood, painted wood, drift wood, particle board, plywood, plastic, magazines, colored paper, gift wrap, cardboard or garbage.

•And lastly, don't use artificial logs in wood burning stoves; they contain paraffin's and are intended for fireplaces only.

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