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Leaking water line suspected of causing fire and putting it out at downtown business building

Wild Styles Salon & Spa owner Denyce Holter doesn’t take her business for granted on the best of days, but a recent fire and flood incident left her with a renewed sense of gratitude.

7/17/13 (Wed)

Fire and water don't mix at Wild Styles . . . The 3"x8" scorch mark behind
plumbing and electrical conduit in the basement of Wild Styles Salon & Spa
is evidence of a fire that started in the business early in the morning
of June 27th, only to be extinguished by water spraying from an older
water pipe (middle of photo) weakened by corrosion.


By Caroline Downs

Wild Styles Salon & Spa owner Denyce Holter doesn’t take her business for granted on the best of days, but a recent fire and flood incident left her with a renewed sense of gratitude.

“I’m counting my blessings,” she said. “Thank God I had a building to walk into that morning.”

Holter referred to June 27th, when she stepped through the door expecting a full day of customers and instead found a disaster.

“The [Oxy, Inc. employee] who rents offices in the basement told me there was water down there,” she said.

Holter immediately contacted local plumbers Butch Norrie and Tim Dignan, who happened to be visiting with each other at the time of the emergency call. Both men arrived in short order and surveyed the situation.

“I got the Shop-Vac out to start vacuuming up the water,” Holter said. “Tim told me the good news was that the sewer wasn’t plugged. That bad news was that the building could have burned down.”

An electrical conduit and an older water line, both located near the ceiling in the basement, were blamed for the incident. Holter described how a portion of the plastic coating of the electrical conduit had melted. Apparently, the nearby water line had corroded from the inside and started dripping or spraying small amounts of water. Some of the water may have splashed on exposed electrical wires, sparking a fire.

According to Holter, the fire burned hot enough near the corroded pipe until the increased heat and pressure weakened the pipe further.

“Water was gushing from the ceiling, and that put the fire out,” she said, “but the corroded pipe kept spraying water, leaving three rooms, the bathroom and the hallway flooded.”

The fire burned a 3”x8” area on the wall behind the faulty pipe, as evidenced by a black scorch mark. Holter said she arrived at work at 8:40 am, and water was still boiling in the corroded line at 10 am.

The electrical wires and conduit were replaced immediately, and a temporary pipe corrected the plumbing problem. “We will replace that, too, so I don’t have to worry about this again,” Holter said.

She closed the business for the day and spent the time with her employees cleaning up the mess. Fortunately, her renter took the water in stride and kept working as Holter vacuumed water from the floor in his office.

“I have waterproof flooring down there, after some problems we had before this,” she said. Wild Styles Salon & Spa welcomed customers again the next day.

Holter still has to replace ceiling tiles soaked by the spraying water. As of last week, damage to sheet rock in the flooded rooms appeared minimal even as Holter watches for any problems.

“I like things clean and sanitary,” she said.

She opened Wild Styles Salon & Spa on the south side of Kenmare’s downtown square in October 2009. Today, she’s happy to be looking ahead to an anniversary celebration rather than facing the aftermath of a fire that could have devastated neighboring businesses.

“That corroded pipe was a blessing in disguise,” she said.

Lights reflect off the flooded basement floor at Wild Styles Salon & Spa.