Casper Fire-EMS crews responded to a structure fire in North Casper at approximately 9:00 a.m. Friday morning.

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According to a release sent out by Casper Fire-EMS, reporting parties stated that smoke was coming from the roof and back of a residence, and firefighters arrived to find an unoccupied structure with smoke coming from the crawlspace, walls, and attic area.

Five units responded to the incident, including the on-duty Battalion Chief, Chief Officers, the on-call fire investigator, Casper PD officers, and an ambulance from the Wyoming Medical Center. Technicians from Rocky Mountain Power and Black Hills Energy also assisted at the scene.

When firefighters arrived, they determined the structure was vacant. Despite challenges from the bitter cold temperatures, firefighters accessed the crawlspace area and extinguished the fire, which they determined to be caused by space heaters placed in close proximity to flammable materials.

Individuals who were working in the building reported that they attempted to use space heaters to thaw water pipes.

In a statement released to the public, Casper Fire-EMS wrote that they understand that “bitter cold temperatures present challenges in heating living areas, and also challenges in keeping exposed or uninsulated pipes from freezing. Casper Fire-EMS encourages residents and property owners to keep water moving through their pipes by turning on faucets or spigots slightly. Slight water movement (approximately the width of a pencil tip) will prevent water in pipes from freezing. Never use a space heater, fuel oil heater, or other open flame to thaw pipes. If using a space heater in any circumstance, keep all flammable material at least 3 feet away in all directions – and turn off the space heater when you are not in the same room.”

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