A fire at an Ellsworth non-profit organization's headquarters is a good reminder to use caution when thawing frozen pipes.

The fire at the Washington Hancock County Community Agency was reported just after 1:00 on Tuesday. Crews from several towns responded and found a small fire on the back wall of the building that was extinguished quickly. Damage was minor and limited to the outside of the building. WABI-TV reports the fire started as a service company was trying to thaw frozen pipes.

Fire officials are warning residents to be careful when taking care of frozen pipes, and make sure to use a safe method of thawing. Hair dryers are a great solution, as well as wrapping the pipes with hot towels. Space heaters can also be used, but must be kept a safe distance away from any combustibles. Using heat tape can help protect pipes in extreme weather. But any device with an open flame should never be used to thaw pipes. Blow torches and the like can have a disastrous result when they ignite insulation or other combustibles.

To prevent pipes from freezing, open faucets in extremely cold temperatures, keeping a small amount of water running through them. Moving water doesn't freeze as quickly as still water. Open cupboard doors to allow the ambient heat to circulate around the pipes. And don't be afraid to bump that thermostat up a bit to keep those pipes warm.

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