NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) — A woman, who may have been trying to thaw out frozen pipes, was taken to the hospital Thursday after fire tore through her Westmoreland County home.
The fire started just after 4 p.m. and destroyed the home in the 1700 block of Arnold Street.
The winter winds whipped the flames, making the fire more difficult to fight.
“With the wind that helped fuel it, it didn’t help us one bit,” said First Asst. Chief Ed Saliba, of the New Kensington Fire Department.
While the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, there were reports at the scene that the woman who lived there may have been trying to thaw some frozen pipes.
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She was taken to a local hospital as a precaution, but did not suffer any serious injuries.
As night fell and temperatures dropped, the road turned into a sheet of ice. Two firefighters fell while fighting the fire, but neither were seriously hurt.
“It’s miserable, it’s totally miserable,” said Chief Saliba. “Instantly, you’re cold and you’re dealing with water and it instantly freezes.”
Firefighters had to change uniforms because their gear was covered in ice.
“I had to take my jacket off. It had about a quarter of an inch of ice. There was guys… you couldn’t even see what their helmet said on it, it was just caked in ice,” he said.
The Salvation Army was also on the scene, providing relief as the firefighters and emergency crews worked in the cold.