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Home destroyed by fire after Holly man tries to thaw frozen pipes with portable heater

Holly fire
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-15 20:15:58-05

HOLLY, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Holly man is hospitalized, suffering from smoke inhalation and hypothermia after fire officials say he tried to use a portable heater to thaw frozen pipes under his home.

"I know it's cold but using external heat or flames to thaw out water lines is not the way to go," said Village of Holly Fire Chief Jeremy Watson.

Neighbor Dan Brooks said a couple days ago, 61-year-old Bruce Robinson said he had a problem with a water pipe.

On Sunday, as Robinson used a portable heater to try to thaw the pipes under his home, something caught fire. Neighbors said they just saw a lot of smoke.

Robinson managed to call 911 and he was laying outside when officers arrived.

One officer began CPR on Robinson while another officer raced inside to rescue his dog.

Firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames and returned Monday morning when the fire rekindled.

"Because of the age of the modular unit, it's almost like a balloon construction and embers stuck under the 2 x 2 metal rails underneath and it rekindled this morning around 9 am," said Chief Watson.

Fire officials are urging people to never use a torch or open flame in an attempt to thaw frozen pipes.

One of Robinson's relatives said he remains hospitalized, sedated, and on a ventilator. She added that the family thanks everyone for their concern and prayers.