Fun With Flammables

Well today was fun. I was going to head down to Orange County for the last day of a conference.  Larry had just left for the day. I went to the bathroom to shower and primp.  I turned on the shower to get the hot water going, used the loo, lit a couple matches to clear the air [sorry, it’s part of the story], waved the matches out and extinguished them in the sink for safety’s sake.  Then stepped into the shower-tub. Man, it was steamed up. I’d never seen our hot water get that hot that fast.

Oh. That’s not steam. That’s a fire. The shower curtain was on fire.  ON FIRE.

Not really believing what I saw, I pulled the curtain which only gave it more oxygen. #Holy xልወርግ!” I cussed, then tried to aim the shower head at the flames. Well fire travels upward, and shower heads are designed to aim downward, so it only worked on the part of the curtain that was already burned up. I inhaled, grabbed the hem and YANKED the curtain down into the bathtub. The wire rings split open like clothespins.  Sadly a hunka hunka burning cloth still stuck to the rail. I considered muffing it out with the towels, but I’d spent too much on the towels. It looked small enough that it would burn out on its own.

The fire was done. But the smoke alarm went off in my office next door. I’d seen my nieces and nephews do a trick when their smoke alarm reacted to the steam from a shower: get a coat or blanket and wave the smoke/steam away from the alarm. I grabbed a down vest off the desk and waved at it. It worked. I started back to see if the chair broiled remnant was still on fire, but then the alarm started up again. So I waved it again, stronger, vigorous, flapping the vest over my head and down to the ground. The vest caught the lamp on the bookshelf and knocked it over, shattering the light bulb into the high pile carpet. Okay so I can’t walk around over there. First things first, alarm was still going. I pulled my desk underneath the alarm to stand on the desk and take out the battery … forgetting that my desk has only three legs. … a file cabinet acts as the fourth leg, which I just pulled it away from. The desk toppled over.

Okay, glass in the carpet, alarm still going. I ran out to the kitchen and got the  Cisco step ladder and was able to extricate the battery from the alarm.

The fire was out. But the bathroom was a mess: charred curtain remnants clogging the drain, soot burned into the rod, and oh hey! it’s still steaming in here, because I HADN’T TURNED OFF THE SHOWER YET. Water was still geysering out. And whaddya know, without a curtain, that wter just sprayed out onto the tile and seeped into Larry’s office.

At this point I realized I needed to go get the vacuum from the pantry, open the front door and  windows, go get a box fan out of the garage.  I needed to get some shoes on until I could vacuum up the class. Oh and I should put some clothes on to go out and get the box fan. I had performed all the above heroic tasks in my birthday suit.

It took about three hours to clean up everything, from pooled water to the charred mess in the tub to the broken light bulb in the carpet and my overturned desk.  The good news is, I got all my housework done!

I wished I’d taken a photo of the mess in the bathtub before I cleaned up, to put on the blog. But when you’re staring at a fire blooming over your head, you really don’t think, “hey, this would look great on my blog.”

When Larry came home a couple hours later, he saw the box fan in his office window and asked, “You hot or something?”

  • Lesson 1: Polyester is made from petrol. Who knew!
  • Lesson 2: Don’t put matches out by waving them wildly.  Not in a small space.
  • Lesson 3: Get a fire extinguisher.



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