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Man Battling Cold Weather Sets Fire to Home

HOGAN TOWNSHIP, Ind. (Angenette Levy) -- A man trying to thaw a frozen pipe under his mobile home accidentally set a fire that destroyed it and several of his classic cars Tuesday night.

"See everything burn up. You know it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking," Larry Webster said.

Webster said he was using a salamander heating device to thaw a pipe when the heat sparked flames at his Mt. Sinai Rd home. Those flames spread quickly through insulation despite his best efforts to stop them.

"We was pulling the insulation out and throwing it out but we couldn't get the fire out," Webster said. He added, "It got up under the floor and that was it. It burned everything from there."

Webster owns 22 cars, some are classics. Several that were housed in the attached garage were destroyed.

"One was a '33 Dodge and a '66 Mustang, a '59 Mercedes, a '69 GMC pickup," Webster said.

Firefighters from several departments assisted the Hogan Twp. Fire Department in fighting the fire. Nearly 2,000 gallons of water was trucked in to douse the flames. The near-zero temperature, ice on the street and a mechanical fire with one of the tankers posed a challenge to firefighters trying to battle the flames.

"They have multiple tankers here, multiple men working and basically the fire just spread faster than we could get men working on it," said Matt Pyles of the Hogan Twp. Fire Dept.

No firefighters were injured. Pyles said it's difficult to fight fires in extremely  cold or hot weather. Many of the firefighters had been put through their paces since they also helped with a fire at the Seagram's Plant in Lawrenceburg on Monday.

Firefighters from Dillsboro, Aurora, Moore's Hill and Manchester Twp. were at the home until 10:30 Tuesday night putting out hotspots.

Meanwhile, Larry Webster had lived there for 21 years. And while he has insurance, he doesn't believe it will cover half of what he lost.

"My life savings, a lot of it," Webster said.




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