NH Officials: Landlord Thawing Pipes Starts Fire

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File photo of a firetruck.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a firetruck. (Credit: Thinkstock)

DERRY, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire fire officials say a landlord using a propane torch to thaw frozen pipes started a fire that left five tenants homeless.

Derry firefighters were called to the two-family Mt. Pleasant Street home after tenants called to say there was a fire in the walls of an apartment at the rear of the 100-year-old house. When firefighters arrived Saturday the saw smoke billowing out from the front and rear of the home and from under the eaves.

Fire officials say all five tenants and two dogs escaped without injury. Firefighters had to dismantle several walls to extinguish the blaze.

Due to damage to pipes and the electrical system all utilities had to be shut off and the house was deemed uninhabitable.

American Red Cross volunteers helped the tenants, who said they had nowhere to go. Fire officials said none of the tenants had renter’s insurance, but were able to salvage many of their belongings.

Fire officials did not immediately answer inquiries about the landlord’s identity and whether he could face charges.

The Derry Code Enforcement and Fire Prevention bureaus are investigating the cause of the blaze.

Fire officials say one tenant who has a past history of respiratory problems developed shortness of breath while waiting for Red Cross officials to arrive and was transported to Parkland Medical Center.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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