Blowtorch used to thaw frozen hydrants during Camden fire

CAMDEN (WPVI) -- Firefighters battled brutal cold temperatures and frozen fire hydrants while trying to get a handle of a stubborn blaze in Camden, New Jersey.

The fire started around 1:45 a.m. Thursday in a vacant property on the 400 block of Chestnut Street.

The fire quickly engulfed the vacant house next door.

Officials believe someone may have started the fire in an attempt to stay warm.

Single digit temps forced crews to pull out a blowtorch to thaw four frozen fire hydrants.

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Action Cam Video: Camden firefighters use blowtorch to thaw frozen hydrant on January 31, 2019.

The water quickly created what looked like an ice rink.

A fence became encased in thick ice, and large icicles weighed down power lines.

The stubborn flames flared up several times throughout the morning, even after firefighters thought they were done.

It would take about five hours before the exhausted firefighters were able to finally pack up and go.

Nearby resident Tomas Martinez says, just a day before, he saw a man in the home.

"I saw a guy that was taking a can that was lit on fire, and I told him to take it out of the house. But he stayed," neighbor Tomas Martinez said, translated from Spanish.

Martinez says the man told him it was really cold and he just needed some warmth.

The Camden County Fire Marshal's Office and firefighters returned later Thursday morning to continue searching for the cause of the fire.

No injuries were reported.

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Icy mess at Camden, N.J. fire scene. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News Mornings on January 31, 2019.

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