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Author Topic: FIRE! Close calls  (Read 6329 times)

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FIRE! Close calls
« on: February 19, 2013, 08:09:50 PM »
I’ve very conscientious about making sure the oven and all burners on the stove are turned off – especially if I’m going out or going to bed soon.  I have several smoke detectors.  I don’t like candles, and I only have a few just in case.

Last year I had a close call that made me ……well, let me tell the story.

I cooked something, made sure the burner was turned off, rinsed my hands and dried them. and put on my jacket to run an errand.  I have a bad habit of tossing a dish drying towel on the counter (instead of hanging it where it’s supposed to go).

I headed out.  For some reason, I looked inside my wallet, saw my credit card, decided to go back inside to get some cash instead of using my credit card.  As I unlocked the door, I saw FLAMES!  :o The edge of dish towel I tossed on the counter touched the (still hot) burner and was on fire.

I was fast enough to put out the fire myself, no damage (except to the towel) and a bad smell.  Whew!!  I had to sit down and regroup, as I opened windows to air things out.  It terrified me to think what would have happened if “that little voice” had not told me to go back inside.  I looked at my innocent kitty and felt like crying.   :(  I also learned a lesson – do NOT toss the kitchen towel on the counter.  Hang it up.

Anyone else have a "close call" fire story?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 08:13:49 PM by oceanus »


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 08:20:47 PM »
I fell in love with fried dill pickles after having them at a friend's house and she claimed they were really easy to make.  I manage to start a small fire that smoked up my whole kitchen and scared the heck out of me. I'll get my fried pickles from a restaraunt from now on!


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 08:53:18 PM »
My coworker didn't believe me that a large puddle of flaming hand sanitizer can't be stamped out. Instead of killing the flames, he splattered little fire blobs everywhere. We scorched the paint of the shelving a little bit, but we didn't burn our tent down. We probably should have just stuck to the scorpion fights. :P
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 09:27:37 PM »
An English muffin being toasted under the broiler in an electric oven can catch fire.   A cat food can full of water can be poured over that fire and put it out.  The resulting smoke will set-off the smoke detector.

An empty cat food can, rinsed for recycling, can usually be found in my dish drainer.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 09:28:01 PM »
Woke up in the middle of night thinking someone was having a bonfire in the courtyard of my building. Nearly singed my eyebrows when I stuck my head out my 3 rd story apartment to check it out and the window frame of the apartment below mine was completed engulfed.

Wound up going out through the fire escape. Tons of smoke damage to my apartment and the firemen smashed out all of my windows. 16 years later and the tiniest smell of smoke will wake me every time and I cannot go to sleep again until I find the source. When the wind shifted on 9/12/01 and my apartment that was half a mile from the Pentagon was filled with smoke for days, made a traumatic time slightly worse.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 12:48:14 AM »
Good tip: if you shove plastic containers in your oven to get them out of the way, remember to remove them before you turn the oven on.

If you forget this and open up your oven to find melting plastic and a small flame, don't take everything out of the oven and dump it in the sink.

If you do do this, don't turn the tap on thinking the water will put the flame out.

If you turn the tap on and make a small flame into a big one, get out of the kitchen and call your emergency number.

Calling 111 as soon as I realised that that the fire was out of control was the only sensible decision I made in that whole drama! Because I called so quickly, and because it only took a couple of minutes for the firemen to show up the fire was contained to the sink area. Although the ceiling needed to be replaced because it burnt a whole in it and my whole kitchen was black from soot. I do think sending two fire trucks for a fire that they put out with a fire extinguisher was a little excessive though. Probably a slow night.

I also discovered that for all the jokes about attractive firemen, when you need them to put a fire out you don't look at how attractive they are. You really don't see or care (plus they tend to have breathing masks on).

I now own a small fire extinguisher and fire blanket and always check the oven before I turn it on.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2013, 12:50:57 AM »
Remember, don't use water in an oil fire! We had one in the oven and DH wanted to use water, but I stopped him and threw in some baking soda which put it out.

Best part? He's a fire warden for his building and has done fire training.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 01:06:32 AM »
Thankfully the closest I've come to any of that is accidentally getting a dish towel too close to a gas burner.  Since the towel was in my hands, it was easy to drop it in the sink and put out the very small fire quickly.

Now, if we're talking non-kitchen stories, I have a few, since I grew up with a father who shoots professional fireworks as a hobby.  I've been on the sets since I was 5 days old, so blowing things up is a pretty normal "thing" for me, but things can and do go wrong.  My favorite story is the time we scorched a fairly large chunk of a city park one county north of here. I was still pretty young, but old enough that my father had let me help with the shoot itself, instead of sending me with the younger kids away from the set when it was time to start the show.  I was pretty excited. It's also important to note that back in those days, we were still lighting the shells manually.

So, a few days before the show, Dad goes out to the site to inspect it.  This particular park has a lake in the middle of it, and the organizers wanted the set on one side of the lake and the viewers on the other.  That's perfectly reasonable. Unfortunately it had been a dry summer. There was some tall grass on the side of the lake that they wanted the set on. Dad gives them three options: Mow the grass, soak down the grass, or have a fire truck standing by just in case something happens.  The city chose option 3.

Of course, something goes wrong.  A shell explodes too low sending embers down on that tall, dry grass.  It catches on fire.  The fire men jump into their truck to start it and get the pumps going.  The truck won't start. We wound up starting a bucket brigade ourselves to put out what had become a decently large grass fire.  Between the buckets and the large canvass that was soaked and used to smother the fire, we got it out.  I still feel bad for the poor guy who had to keep shooting the show. It must have been terrifying, but, as they say, "the show must go on".  Well that, and if we couldn't get the fire out before another truck responded, Dad didn't want it growing and hitting a few hundred pounds of unexploded fireworks. It was better to get those things in the air than leave them on the ground.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 07:44:46 AM »
Make sure the unopened can of tennis balls are removed from the oven before turning the oven on.  Caught it in time before something bad happened.  As to why the can was in the oven?  Meh, single girl who ate out a lot and who was hurridly cleaning before a date.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 07:56:19 AM »
When you wash pillows, make sure to tell your husband who is the one to dry them that they go in onn low heat for 20 minutes and one at a time, not all 4 bed pillows crammed in at once and turned all the way up.  There was no fire, but smoke, some scorching of the dryer drum, and a need for 4 new bed pillows.

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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 08:22:25 AM »
I've had a couple of close calls in the kitchen with heating oil and then dropping in frozen french fries.  They were easily fixed by putting the lid on and turning off the burner but the fireball from the second time I did this was really impressive.

My family has a hobby sugarbush.  When I was a kid, we were having some of my friends over for a sugaring off party - collect sap and then boil the syrup down to make taffy on snow.  Because they were coming, my Dad had cleaned up a bit, raking around the sugarshack.  Which is a good thing because some leaves blew across the fire the sugaring off pot was over and set the leaf cover on fire.  So the party was very exciting - when my friends arrived, we were busy stomping out the fire and using sap to douse anything smouldering, so they joined in.  When we got everything out, we sugared off; they went home and Dad had a nap.  For years, my friends thought it was the best party ever.

And another sugarbush one.  Dad and I were taking turns feeding the fire in the sugarshack and coming back down to the house.  I came in from feeding; Dad headed up about 30 minutes later for the next feed.  Then he came back down to the house.  Then he went back up.  Then he came back down again.  I finally hollered at him to find out what was going on.  He was coming down for fire extinguishers!  The fire was so hot that sparks came out through some cracks in the chimney and set the back wall of the shack to smouldering!  I went up to help; Dad sent me back down to the house for the chainsaw.  We ended up cutting away a chunk of the back wall and throwing it in the snowbank to put it out.  Needless to say, that batch of syrup was ruined.  And we had to rebuild the chimney and the back wall over that summer.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.

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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 09:40:40 AM »
Many years ago, when I was living on my own in an apartment, I spilled some nail polish remover on the bedroom carpet.  The smell was very strong, and I wanted to go to bed.  I thought, "I know, I'll light a match and hold it over the spill, and the nail polish remover will evaporate!"

No, that's not what happens.  When you hold a match over spilled nail polish remover, it goes up in pretty blue flames.

I had a nice circular scorch mark to remind me of my stupidity.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 09:42:45 AM »
I lit myself on fire at the stove last week just seconds after I nearly dropped a butcher's knife, point down, on my foot.  I keep a car, but I decided to walk to school that day.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 10:21:01 AM »
I fell in love with fried dill pickles after having them at a friend's house and she claimed they were really easy to make.  I manage to start a small fire that smoked up my whole kitchen and scared the heck out of me. I'll get my fried pickles from a restaraunt from now on!

When I lived in an apartment years ago, I had a neighbor complain about me frying pickles. I guess she could smell them cooking  as my windows were open. She claimed it was a fire hazard. I never had a pickle fire though. ;-)

My close call came a few years ago when I accidentally placed a stack of paper plates on a hot burner. Luckily, the fire was quickly contained but it did scare the living daylights out of me.
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