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Author Topic: FIRE! Close calls  (Read 6328 times)

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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2013, 03:00:25 PM »
I remember another one...

We have a toaster oven at work.  As is often the case with communal appliances, it had a fair amount of build up in the bottom.  I was making bruschetta one day so I had the thing on broil.  All of the stuff in the bottom caught fire.  I took my pan out, closed the door and stood there for a moment, trying to figure out what to do.  One of my quick thinking coworkers shoved me out of the way, unplugged it and threw it outside onto the pavement.

Everyone can thank me for us getting a new toaster oven.

And this is why the owners of my building don't allow toaster ovens.  It was a company on another floor that had the fire, but we had to unplug and hide ours.  My toaster oven at home will automatically turn off after 30 minutes on bake or 15 minutes on broil.  An early predecesor didn't have this feature.  I didn't see any actual flames, but the English muffin was a crispy critter, and that oven never worked again.  :-\


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2013, 03:12:06 PM »
I am *very* fortunate in that these two incidents of brain drain did not result in fires.

(1) I left one of the burners of the electric cooktop on high after I had finished cooking breakfast and didn't notice before trotting off to work for a regular day. More than nine hours later I come home to find a red hot burner and a lot of heat in the kitchen.

(2) I used some hot rollers in my hair one morning and forgot to unplug the thing (the only way to turn it off). Another workday. Another nine hours. I come home to find the metal prongs that hold the rollers, and the rollers themselves, so hot the bathroom feels like a heater has been on.

Solution: Talk to myself. Out loud. "I am NOW unplugging the hot rollers." "Yes, the burners are all turned off." "Yes, I have my keys in my hand." Honestly, it's a wonder no one has committed me yet with all the loud self-talk I am instituting. But ... safety first.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2013, 04:16:58 PM »
Did you know that if you try to make s'mores in the microwave, the chocolate bars are melted long before they look melted. If you keep hitting 30 more seconds trying to melt the already melted chocolate, the graham crackers will eventually catch on fire.

(Don't ask DH how he knows this.) ;)
If Timmy had had a Sheltie, he never would have fallen in that well!


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2013, 01:31:08 AM »

1) If you decide to turn off all the lights in the dorm bathroom so you can blow fireballs using 180 proof liquor, for the love of all that's holy put a look-out at the entrances. I walked in to a jet of flame shooting straight at my face. In retrospect, I have to admit it was awesome. At the time, hoo boy.

1a) If your dorm room has a hole with exposed wires in the wall do not - I repeat, do not - fiddle with those wires just to see what happens. I wasn't there, but according to everyone who was a giant ball of green fire chased them down the hallway and possibly even around a corner. I was polite enough to not be skeptical.

2) If you and your cousin decide to fry up some donuts in oil while your pyrophobic brother/cousin sits it out in the living room, when the oil inevitably catches on fire deal with it your own selves. Don't run out of the kitchen screeching "PETER!" and expect me to take care of it.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2013, 05:28:43 AM »
My close calls with fire have all been with fireworks.  Where I live it is legal to have your own displays at home and one year when at a friends one of the fireworks in the sandbox tipped over and started shooting sideways.  Ironically I was the most protected sitting in the alcove for the kitchen door and yet was the only one who got hit.  I was really lucky I had changed out of my summer dress into jeans and a heavy sweater or I would have had third degree burns down one arm and most of one thigh.  As it was my jersey was toast but nothing went up in flames.

About two years ago (maybe six years later) another friend told me my fireworks phobia was ridiculous and that those guys had obviously been careless and it's Guy Fawkes - live a little.  So I gave in graciously and went round to their celebration.  We had worked our way through almost the entire box of fireworks and I was just starting to relax when - you guessed it - one of the fireworks lodged in the sandbox tipped over and started firing straight at me.  I ran for shelter behind the garage and then watched in amazement as my partner merely lowered their sunglasses and continued to sit on the deck watching the fireworks shoot past them at the house.  Luckily (again) nothing caught fire but I don't even play with sparklers anymore.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2013, 09:31:00 AM »
If you're going to shoot professional displays and allow your children to run around the set while it's being set up, remember to remind them to retrieve all of their belongings before the shooting starts.  If you don't, the barge that the set is on might get rocked by an unexpectedly large wave (The New Year's Eve show on Biscayne Bay off Downtown Miami), causing a shell to explode too low and blowing up your 7 year old's teddy bear.  Your 7 year old might grow up and still hold you to task for blowing up her teddy bear even when she's 37.  :D
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 #36 on: February 21, 2013, 10:56:17 AM »
Got a few:

1. My younger sister liked to read in bed, which was strictly against the rules. So she'd hide her bedside lamp under the pillow. The first we knew of this little transgression was one morning at 4 am when I wake up to hear my sis whispering my name from the doorway of my room. "What?" I ask, half-asleep.
"My mattress is on fire."
Adrenaline is a very effective wakeup device.
In seconds, her pillow is in the bathtub with water running over it, and I've got a pail out of the pantry filling with water as well. Oh, yes, and the bedside lamp is unplugged. And the smoke alarm is going off from the cloud emitted from the pillow as it's being carried to the bathroom.
Fortunately, things were only smoldering - no flames - and equally fortunately, my parents took it well. They figured the scare was enough punishment for breaking house rules. That, and they didn't replace the mattress or the lamp - they just cut out the six-inch burnt circle of the mattress and checked the wiring on the lamp, and gave them back.
(My favorite moment from the whole incident is when I told her "Go tell Mom and Dad!" and she says, from the middle of cloud of smoke as the alarm yelps, "Do they have to know?")

2. I burnt a hole on the bottom of my stuffed kangaroo joey. I was playing hospital, and put him on top of the lamp (sense a theme here?) for an x-ray - and then got called away. Again, he was scorched, but not in flames, and my grandmother patched him and gave him back.

3. I'm a heat-seeker, so I often lean on the oven when it's on, to enjoy the warmth. Once, I didn't realize the element was also on until I heard a small poof.  I crushed the back of my sweatshirt against the fridge, and it went right out. It only left a small hole, but not repairable, sadly.

4. My husband (the Sweetie) made lunch and brought it to me at work. He put the empty pot back on the element, which was still on. (In his defense, he always turns the element off - I have no idea what happened that time.) He came back an hour later and smelled something very hot. He spotted the problem and turned off the element, then removed the pot from the heat. Unfortunately, this was a pot with a multilayered bottom, for better heat conduction - think aluminum disk inside a stainless-steel saucer welded onto the bottom of a stainless-steel pot. Both the insert disk and the weld had melted, and when the Sweetie picked up the pot, the saucer fell off and splashed molten metal everywhere.
By some miracle, he didn't get burned and nothing caught fire. The finish on the stove is permanently scorched, and we have some holes burned in the linoleum, but that's it. Oh, and the loss of the pot. I say we got off easy.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2013, 02:56:42 PM »
When I was 20 or so, I lived in an apartment that was half of the basement of a home that was owned by the local police department's helicopter pilot.  Nice guy.

Anyway, the stove was across a large kitchen area and I was dressing chicken pieces to put them in oil, which was being heated on the stove.  The oil caught fire and I panicked.  I ran out of the house and up to the front door and banged on it, telling my landlord that the kitchen was on fire.  He ran out past me, bellowing at his girlfriend to call the fire department.  She said, and I am not making this up, "what's the number?"  I shouted "9-1-1!" as I ran back downstairs.

He managed to get the fire put out and we called the fire department back to ask them to turn the sirens/lights off before they arrived, but of course they didn't and the whole neighborhood witnessed my shame.  My cats were traumatized by the enormous fans they set up in my front door to suck the smoke out.  Ah well :)


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2013, 07:39:48 PM »
I know someone whu used to smoke and fell asleep on the sofa with a cigarette in his hand.  Woke up at 3 - 4AM and searched for over an hour until he found the butt, which had burnt out........but we've all probably seen stories of people who were not so lucky.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2013, 04:33:34 AM »
A few years ago, my father's propane bbq/grill blew up into a fiery inferno that was 6-8ft tall.  :-\   No one was hurt, but it was seriously scary and now I'm completely wary of grills, especially if they make any type of hissing/sizzling sound, which is basically normal 'cooking on a grill' sounds.  :-[

BG; He had one of those grills with an attached cover on top that you lifted up, a side hot plate, and a propane tank tucked underneath it, hidden behind two little doors that had a small wire shelf attached to them to keep your cleaning gadgets and/or cooking utensils. We have a back porch, which is mostly covered by some overhang/ceiling and is not enclosed at all, so he usually just pushes the grill out to the edge of the cement and grills there. There's about 2-3 feet of cement past the overhang. When not in use, he keeps the grill in the corner of the porch, against the house.

So, dad had grilled dinner (probably some chicken), brought it inside and of course had thought he had turned off the grill. We ate while watching TV. So 30-60 minutes later, dad goes outside for some reason.* A forgotten plate, the bottle of BBQ sauce, something small.. and then he checks the grill so that he can pull it over to the corner. It was highly unusual for me to do so, but I followed him out and stood in the doorway of the garage, watching him, probably having a conversation with him. I was 12 feet away from the grill or so. He moves it about 6 inches and sees a black chunk of something on the ground. He bends down to look at it and 'thinks' it is the rubber tubing for the propane connection, so he crouches down to open the little doors to see and next thing I know, WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH, the entire grill is engulfed in flames as tall as the porch ceiling, licking the edging of the roof there. Dad, to his credit, managed to shove the grill back a couple inches as he jumped up and away from it. I asked him if he was ok and he said he was, then the grill popped and like.. another coat of flames shot up, like someone had tossed flammable stuff on it.* 

Dad told me to go get the fire extinguisher we have in the kitchen, and I ask if we should call 911. He doesn't answer, so I just run in to get the extinguisher. We also have large sliding glass doors to our porch (which we were not using this time) and you could see this blazing fireball through the thin curtains. Mom was sitting not 3 feet away from the window and had not noticed anything, but heard the explosion. So of course she asks me what the sound was and I brilliantly answer "uh... don't look out the window."  :-[  She must have looked out the window to see the problem, because she went outside to give dad the extinguisher as I asked her if we need to call 911. She returns to tell me, yes, I should call and goes to find our cats, in case we need to grab them and leave the house. Well, I'm already freaking out internally and I'm one of those people that just does not like using the phone, but I manage to call properly despite all that and calmly answer everything. There's a firehouse pretty much 4 streets over from our house, so we pretty much heard the sirens as soon as the operator person ended the call. I opened the garage door, then check on dad, only to find that our next door neighbor had run over with his garden hose, spraying it at the grill while dad had grabbed ours and was keeping the house/roof edge wet. I went down our driveway to wait for the firemen and several neighbors had come out of their houses, all curious to what's going on at my house. I'm not sure how they knew, since I don't think they could see anything from the front of our house and we live by a semi-main road, so we hear emergency vehicles drive by often, but they started asking me questions and I just ignored them. I think the neighbor's wife might have gossiped it. Anyway, the fire truck pulled up, lights blazing but sound off now and 6 or so fully dressed guys file off and into the garage to get to our back yard... only to find that the fire had finally died out. Turns out that the firemen knew this fireman that also works part time with dad (as coworkers in retail), so they all got to talking for like 20 minutes. I don't know what they discussed, if it was anything relevant to the situation (don't blow up your grill) or if it was just shooting the breeze about the mutual friend.

Dad hadn't cooked on the edge of the cement this time, so it was good that he managed to give it that shove, since even with it, the grill was barely not under the house while aflame. The grill died spectacularly, it was a charred, melted, mess, caving in on itself with holes burned through the cover/sides. The white propane tank was charred black, the nozzle permanently disfigured. A huge scorch mark on the cement. A homemade, wooden flower planter partially scorched, the plant within half burned/killed. The house managed to be unharmed, just some soot that dad washed off later. Most importantly, dad was unharmed, because he was seriously right there when it went off. Crouched down, had his hands on the grill, peering at the propane tank when everything went to hades.

After all that, mom didn't allow him to have another grill for over a year. To be honest, I don't know that she ever wanted him to get another, but he got one before 2 years passed. I'm not sure how the whole 'getting a new grill' thing went down because I was living elsewhere when the new grill was acquired.
* - Dad had kept a can of cooking spray in that door shelf, so when it got too hot, it blew up too. Yes, he knew he shouldn't have kept it there for exactly that reason, but I guess convenience won out.


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2013, 10:08:46 AM »
When using your gas stove, do not declare the moment a burner is on as the moment to clean around said burner with a paper towel and cleaning fluid. Luckily I have good reflexes and the paper towel was under water fairly quickly.
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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2013, 10:32:59 AM »
Pay attention when you turn on, and subsequently, ignate the gas grill. I housesit for friends, and while I know how to use it, I am still a little scared of the grill. Maybe due to the large gas can used to power it!  So one day I have friends over, and I'm chatting up a storm, but not paying enough attention.

The way their grill works, and I'm sure many others, is you turn on the gas, and ONE burner, then hit the ignite button. But I turned all three burners on, so when I hit ignite, POOF, a giant fireball. Fortunately, since I'm scared of the grill, I wasn't standing in front, but off to the side, so I didn't get singed. But I did learn my lesson!


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Re: FIRE! Close calls
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2013, 05:35:59 PM »
When I was in junior high, we had a nice tv in the living room, and the tv my parents had purchased before I was born (in the early 1950s) in the basement for us kids. That set was huge, weighed as much as the average hippo, and stood on a brass-coated four-legged stand that swiveled. One day I was down there, tv on, and I smelled something burning. I unplugged the tv, turned it and saw flames inside the back (the back was covered with a perforated chipboard-type material). So, I walked upstairs and told my mom to call 911 because the tv was on fire. The firemen came, made sure the fire had burned itself out, and told my mom that my unplugging the set had been the right thing to do, but maybe next time I should run up the stairs.
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