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Heater used around natural gas meter may have caused fire

Posted at 4:19 AM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 18:16:11-05

Update - We spoke to the homeowner, 85-year-old Dorothy Kaczkowski, as she walked into her home for the first time since the fire.

"Terrible... terrible... from outside it was very bad," said Kaczkowski. "The flames, there were about ten fire trucks, the trucks were all down Derby Road."

National Fuel crews were on the scene Friday afternoon. They told 7 Eyewitness News that the unit that caught fire is a "standard piece of equipment that is used across the industry" to prevent moisture from freezing a gas meter.

As they investigate, Kaczkowski and her family looked around the home, including the hole in the wall and the dented door.

"Now I can't stay here because there's no heater," said Kaczkowski. "Nothing... and they've got to fix up the damage."

Even her granddaughter, Kim Dils, scared at the thought of losing her beloved grandmother.

"At 3 a.m. the phone rings... you know that's not a good sign," said Dils. "Oh gosh, you're never prepared. You see it on TV and you think what an awful way to die."

But Kaczkowski's neighbor, who they call the neighborhood hero, came to the rescue and saved her as she slept soundly.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be alive today," said Kaczkowski. "It's the man next door that should get all the credit."

He carried her away from the scene so fast, they both slipped on ice. But bruises will heal. Kaczkowski is just thankful that she's alive to tell this story.

National Fuel says the investigation is still ongoing. Their crews are trying to find out what caused the fire.

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A heating setup installed around a natural gas meter may have sparked an overnight fire in Derby.

It happened at a home along the 7200 block of Derby Road.

A fire official said flames were shooting up from the ground around the gas meter and extending up the house when firefighters arrived just before 3 a.m. Friday.

An Evans police officer was able to assist the resident from the home.  She is okay and will be staying with family.

The fire was quickly knocked down by firefighters and most of the damage was contained to the exterior of the home.

The fire official said National Fuel was having issues with moisture in the gas lines on the street.  They installed a heating setup which was boxed in by insolated boards covering the gas meter at most of the homes.

A code enforcement was called to look at the setup.

Total damages were not immediately known.