FALMOUTH — Cold temperatures and heavy smoke made fighting a Feb. 1 house fire on Blackstrap Road difficult and dangerous, Fire Chief Howard Rice said.

Rice said a passerby reported the fire at 2:35 p.m. Friday, when the temperature was about 18 degrees. By the time fire crews arrived, the home was heavily involved, with fire on both the first and second floors and flames shooting 15 feet into the air.

Rice said firefighters searched the residence for occupants in “zero visibility” due to the heavy smoke. Officials later contacted the homeowner, who, Rice told the Portland Press Herald was staying with relatives.

“The homeowner earlier in the day was thawing out some frozen pipes,” he said. “We believe (the fire) started in that area.”

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