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Officials: Hair dryer on frozen pipe likely started fire, burning woman

An attempt to thaw pipes with a hair dryer likely sparked a blast that caused a woman’s first-degree burns, officials said on Wednesday.

The fire, largely confined to the kitchen and living area of an East Atlantic Beach basement apartment, broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

“The only thing we know is that she was using a hair dryer under the kitchen sink to thaw out pipes,” said Long Beach fire commissioner Scott Kemins.

The woman closed the cabinet door, and when she opened the door about 45 minutes later she was hit with flames, News 12 Long Island reported, citing fire officials.

The burn victim was taken by ambulance to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Nassau fire marshals and the police are investigating the cause of the fire, though its origin is not considered suspicious, Kemins said.

Referring to the hair dryer, he said: “Other than that, we don’t know what caused the explosion that caused her to be burnt.”

When the firefighters arrived at 2:43 p.m. to the Trenton Avenue home they found the woman had found refuge with a neighbor, Chief Joseph Miller said on Tuesday.

“The fire marshals are investigating; at this time they are deeming it accidental,” the chief said.

The bitter cold impeded the firefighters, Miller said, because the “water was freezing on the ground, making everything slippery.”

With William Murphy

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