OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - As cold as it has been, some people are dealing with frozen plumbing and pipes in their homes.

And unless you wait for a warm up, thawing the pipes can be dangerous.

Northern Kent County resident Teresa McKenzie found that out the hard way.

"Her pipes were frozen so they tried to put a space heater underneath the house to get the pipes unfrozen," explains her daughter, Kimberly Forester. "

Around 2:30 P.M. Thursday the trailer home on Podunk Avenue caught fire.

"It was due to the radiant heater they were using to thaw their pipes," says Oakfield Township Fire Chief Don Riker. "Probably took about 10 minutes and it was fully involved."

Resident Teresa McKenzie and her 2 cats were able to safely escape from the fire.

But the home and contents were destroyed.
"She lost everything," says Forrester. "This is our grandparents' house so it means a lot to our family."

The fire department does not endorse the use of space heaters to thaw frozen pipes.

"It's not recommended," says Chief Riker. "If you do it, monitor it at all times. You could walk away for 2 minutes and you come back and your house is on fire."

Chief Riker recommends residents avoid frozen pipes by letting a faucet in the home drip during cold spells.

"Let your water run inside the house," he says. "This way you have water constantly moving."

Her daughter says McKenzie has no insurance on the home.

"She needs a lot of help," says Forrester. "She is 55 and has a disability. I'm sure a lot of people will see this news and hit me up on Facebook so we can figure something out."