EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 31, 2013

Methuen Fire: Heat gun used to defrost freezer ignites garage fire

METHUEN — A heat gun being used to defrost a freezer appears to have caused a fire that destroyed a 1-car, detached garage at 19 Lexington Ave. around 12:30 a.m. today.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call at the property and found flames rolling across the ceiling of the wood-frame, single-story structure and pouring out the garage door, which had collapsed by the time they arrived, according to Methuen Fire Capt. Michael Buote.

The engine company responding to the 1-alarm blaze was able to put the fire out in about a half hour, he said. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the nearby house, where some of the plastic molding around a door window were melted along with a door bell, he said. The house is about 12 feet from the garage.

The contents of the garage as well as the structure itself were completely destroyed.

"It's a tear-down at this point." he said.

Buote said the heat gun was placed on a shelf in the freezer and that the homeowner, David Grondine, went inside his house for 5 or 10 minutes. When he came back outside, the garage was ablaze.

About the same time, a neighbor ran over to alert him to the fire.

Grondine told his wife and 7-year-old child to get out of the house and call 911, Buote said.

A car in the driveway was also heavily damaged.

Firefighters from the first responding engine company used a single hand line to put out the fire, although the department launched a full response to the blaze.

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More on this story in tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.

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