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Frozen water pipes led to house fire in Chilliwack

Chilliwack firefighters had to break into an apartment to put out a stove-top fire that broke out shortly after they battled a house fire Thursday.

And the cause of the house fire was the homeowner using a heat gun to thaw out some frozen water pipes.

"Fortunately, the homeowner was monitoring the situation closely when he heard crackling, followed by smoke coming from between the floors," Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Ullyot said.

Fire hydrants have also been covered by snow in many cases, and Chilliwack fire officials are asking homeowners to clear them so they're visible to firefighters.

While fire crews were mopping up after the 6:45 p.m. house fire in the 42000-block Yale Road, fire alarms went off in an apartment complex just down the street in the 45000-block at 7:20 p.m.

No injuries were reported at either fire. Apartment residents were briefly evacuated.

Upon arrival at the house fire, firefighters located a small fire that had ignited in the space between the basement and first floor of the home.

The downstairs ceiling had to be opened up by firefighters to get at the flames, and to contain them before they spread to the upstairs kitchen.

Damage was limited to some kitchen cupboards, some floor joists and to the basement ceiling.

Apartment residents reported smoke coming from the fourth floor suite, and fire officials said it was evident upon arrival that a pot left on the stove was the cause of the smoke.

"Crews used forcible entry tools to gain access and extinguish the stove-top fire," Ullyot said.

Damage was limited to light smoke damage in one bedroom suite.

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