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Man Trying To Thaw Pipes Sparks Marion Twp. Fire

MARION TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- A man trying to thaw the pipes with a blow dryer and heater in his Beaver County home sparked a large fire Friday.

The single-story home, built on stilts because of its proximity to a nearby creek and the creek's tendency to flood, was destroyed in the multiple-alarm fire.

The blaze broke out around 4 p.m. along Eckert Stop Lane in Marion Township.

Firefighters from companies in both Beaver and Butler counties battled the flames in frigid, single-degree temperatures.

"The house was so far gone, there was nothing we could do to save it when we got to the scene," Assistant Fire Chief John Murtha told KDKA-TV's Ralph Iannotti.

Homeowner Leonard Szulczewski, at times in tears, says he lost everything in the fire, including his treasured baseball memorabilia collection.

The fire started after Szulczewski used a hair dryer and a propane or kerosene heater to thaw out frozen pipes under the house.

He said he apparently fell asleep on a couch and was awakened by popping sounds.

Szulczewski managed to get out safely.

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