A woman who attempted to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer in her East Atlantic Beach home on Tuesday was seriously injured when a spark caused a small explosion, fire officials said.
Firefighters rushed to 46 Trenton Ave. at 2:43 p.m. with mutual aid from the Island Park and Inwood Fire Departments. Crews were met by heavy smoke and flames coming from the first floor windows in the rear of the home, Long Beach Fire Chief Joseph Miller said.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, and the Nassau County fire marshal and the county Police Department were called to the scene to investigate.
Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro said that the woman, who was not identified, was trying to thaw the pipe when an electrical spark ignited the fumes of a nearby gas stove that was accidentally turned on, creating a flash fire in the kitchen, Miller said.
“Her injuries were consistent with a flash explosion,” Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said. “Burns covered a large portion of her body, but weren’t too serious.”
The woman was taken by county police ambulance to the Nassau University Medical Center’s burn unit, Uttaro said.
Uttaro concluded that the fire was accidental. The woman, he said, apparently didn’t smell the gas from the stove when she used the hair dryer. He added that the small explosion blew out one of the first-floor windows.
The occupants of the house could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, as the Herald went to press.
The fire occurred on a day when firefighters and emergency personnel rushed to multiple emergency calls throughout Long Beach. Many residents experienced problems caused by the recent frigid temperatures, fire officials said. “We’re seeing more frozen pipes,” Kemins said. “A few have burst.”
“Unfortunately, we’re going to be expecting more after this weekend, with the deep freeze,” Miller said. “The pipes burst when they start thawing.”
“Once it gets warmer and the temperatures are above freezing,” Kemins added, “pipes are going to leak, and we can expect a lot more [bursts] once they thaw early next week.”