Monday, January 28, 2008

Burning down the house

What's new with you today? Here is what's new with me today: I almost burned down the house. :(

I set some oil to cooking on the stove to deep fry some fryjacks- a new Belizian dish we learned while on vacation. I went upstairs to check email for a moment and forgot about the oil and fell asleep. The smoke detectors upstairs woke me up and I went downstairs thinking "Crud, I smell burning, I'll have to toss out the oil and start over" Imaging my shock and surprise when I entered the kitchen to find the oil on fire with flames up to the over-the-range microwave. The microwave was on fire as was the cabinetry. There was thick black smoke dancing across the ceiling [that actually looked pretty freaky and cool, like a river on the ceiling]. I freaked out and called 911 and they showed up about 4 minutes later [after the 911 operator told me to get out of the house immediately].  I grabbed the doggies and my laptop and went outside to wait for the firemen. It seemed like forever before they came and I could hear the fire crackling inside and began to worry.

The men came blazing up in 2 or 3 trucks which drew the curious neighbors attention. It took the firemen only a few minutes to put out the fire. I hoped it wasn't too bad but when I went inside and saw the black ceilings and where they had used the axe to rip the microwave off the wall....when I saw the blackened cabinets and glass on the floor and melted stove display.....blah

So the fire marshal interviewed me and told me after to call my insurance company immediately. The insurance company [USAA, the best company ever] took my info and told me the smoke damage fixer people would be coming to give an estimate on the smoke removal and damage reversal. The smoke people came out this afternoon and took pictures and said they would be back tomorrow with a fancy tool to check smoke levels in every room and on different surfaces. In the meantime they recommended staying out of the house until they finish their clean-up later in the week. Once clean up is over, then the repairs/replacements can begin.

What a mess. Thank God no one was hurt and the fire was contained to the kitchen. I had no idea that oil could just burst into flames all on its own, without a match or existing fire to spark it. But apparently when it gets hot enough [something called a flashpoint according to the fire marshal] that is exactly what happens.

So the insurance company is covering us to stay at a hotel until the smoke people tell us the clean-up is finished and the toxic fumes are gone. Probably that will be at the end of the week.

Please keep us in your prayers.

And if you didn't see my note about where to find our travel blog entries for our trip to Belize, they can be found here:

http://www.travbuddy.com/jenniparks/blogs

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