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Water Softener Saves House

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February 6, 2011 by wcobserver

By Steve Winkler

Two trucks from the Boston Mountain Volunteer Fire Department answered a 911 call from a Winslow residence to find plenty of smoke and a water covered floor but no flames.  The fire had been extinguished by water spraying from a water pipe damaged by the fire itself.

The residence on Hwy 71 in Winslow is adjacent to the Mountain Top Gun Shop and owned by Bill and Tracy Barnett.

“I threw some things in the dryer and went back to work at the shop.  When I returned an hour and half later the house was full of smoke and I stepped into water when I went into the kitchen,” said Bill Barnett.  “I called 911, and turned the water off. “

“It was awesome,” he added.  “The volunteer fire department was here in 4 minutes.”

“It’s a miracle we didn’t lose the whole house, the smoke damage is stressful but we didn’t lose the house,” repeated Tracy Barnett, standing among a half dozen dehumidifiers, charred chunks of sheet rock and household disarray.

Bill explained that a previous owner had installed a water softener system and for unknown reasons ran the PVC pipe on the inside of the laundry room rather than in the wall.  It was that detail that allowed the fire to burn the pipe and spray the water that put out the fire.

One fireman asked about mice and speculated about the possibility of field mice chewing on electrical work located on top of the dryer duct, said Bill.

He suggested to the Observer that we remind readers to check their insurance coverage in such instances, particularly the value of the house’s contents.

“It’s the smoke damage – every surface has to be cleaned, all clothing, bedding, everything.  The smoke is toxic,” he said.

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1 comment »

  1. I WORK FOR A COMPANY FOR ALMOST 33 YRS, AND I HAVE SEEN MANY STRANGE FIRES. THE TWO THAT COMES TO MIND, AND THE TIME I DID NOT BELIEVE EITHER STORY. BUT THEY TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE. TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITHIN A FEW WEEKS TOOK THE CLOTHES OUT OF THE CLOTHES DRYER AND PLACED THEM IN A PLASTIC CLOTHES BASKET AND WENT AWAY FROM HOME. ON RETURNING FOUND THEY HAD A FIRE THAT STARTED IN THE CLOTHES BASKET. LATER IT WAS PROVED THAT THIS IS A COMMON THING.

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