Attempt to thaw pipe blamed for Negley fire

NEGLEY – A mobile home just over a mile from the Negley fire station caught fire Thursday when a resident tried to thaw a frozen septic line.

Negley firefighters were called to 8277 Union Ridge Road around 11:30 a.m. and firefighters had the small fire contained within 10 minutes, Chief Gary Banicki said.

The home on the rural property not far from Quay Road is owned by Roy Moffett Sr., who lives there with his wife and grandson. The fire ignited in the insulation beneath the trailer after Moffett’s grandson attempted to thaw the septic line using a rag wrapped around a stick that was doused with kerosene and lit on fire, the chief said.

The plastic covering over the septic line melted first and caused the insulation to catch fire, he explained.

“It was barely burning when we got there,” he said.

Moffett had reportedly told firefighters he had done the same thing in the past and it worked successfully.

It was not the first time the department responded to fire calls at the property. Banicki said there were two structure fires last year and a vehicle fire in 2012.

At the fire on Thursday the Negley department had four trucks and seven firefighters and were assisted by the East Palestine department, which brought two trucks and seven firefighters.

The New Waterford department was also called but canceled once firefighters saw the fire was not severe.

It was the second house fire Negley responded to this week. The first was on Sprucevale Road and the cause of that fire is still undetermined, although Banicki said he believes the home’s furnace is to blame.