Monday, October 04, 2010

Let That be a Warning

Fire is an ever-present danger. My roommate never leaves the dryer running after she leaves the house or goes to bed, because someone she knows came home to a burned-up house that started from a dryer left unattended. So I only leave the dryer running when I go to bed if it's set on Air Fluff. Nobody's dryer ever caught fire from cold air, at least that I'm aware of.

But house fires are caused by other things than dryers. There's the cigarette or cigar left smoldering in the sofa, which catches fire after everyone has gone to bed.

Pattern: Never go to bed. This will prevent most fires.

No, wait. That's the wrong lesson. Because about 10 or 12 years ago, my ex-husband's house caught fire in the afternoon right after my son had used the old electric typewriter (circa 1970) on his bed then turned it off and left the room. The fire department blamed the typewriter.

I mention this, because I saw an article in the Las Vegas Sun that said somebody's candle was left unattended, at which time it decided to run amok and catch the house on fire. It caused $180,000 in damage. That's a very expensive candle.

Pattern: Never be inattentive. This will prevent most fires.

Actually, the candle issue isn't a problem for me. I know people who love candles. There are whole industries and businesses built around selling nothing but candles. But for some reason, I never seem to get the candles to work right. I smell the scented ones more when they're NOT lit than when they are. One candle (was it gardenia or camelia? I don't remember, except that it ended in "-ia") was so powerful unlit that I had an allergic reaction to it and had to keep it in a gallon-size Ziploc for my protection. But mainly, what I smell is the aroma of a freshly blown-out wick when I'm done, and what's the point of giving my house the dead-wick smell? I just don't do candles.

However, the article reminded me of one of my favorite Dave Barry columns: The Pop Tart story, in which Dave conducts a scientific experiment on Pop Tarts and their generic equivalents, following the story of a man whose kitchen was burned down by Pop Tarts left too long in the toaster.

No matter what it is - dryers, cigarettes, electric typewriters, candles, Pop Tarts, or some other fire hazard waiting to surprise you - let that be a warning to you. Don't light things up, don't type, don't toast, and for heaven's sake, don't go to bed. You may wake up to more heat than you can stand.


Bekah said...

I have giggled much reading this post. Not that fire is funny. I am one of those who won't go to bed or leave the house with the dryer running - and we all know my luck with flat irons. But I just love your presentation. SO TRUE!!

SkyePuppy said...


Maybe a fear of fire is buried deep, deep down in our subconscious and that's what keeps you and me both up way too late at night...

Delta said...

Letting fear rule our lives is not a way to live, I agree. I hate fires. I've lost a love one to a fire. My mother lost her house to a fire. I've burnt my hand on a wood heating stove when I was 4, on my dad's cigarette (G-d rest his soul), on an iron on an ironing board before it had cooled all the way down, etc. etc.

Not fun. But your article was very amusing.