Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fire in the house

A week ago today we had a bit of a disaster. A small pan containing wax was on the stove. The wax was to be used to seal a huge batch of tomato chutney that was ready to be added to the preserves we have been able to make from a marvelous garden this year.

As we sat and read after lunch the pan spilled over and the wax ignited. About 45 seconds later I had sprayed the entire stove area with a fire extinguisher. The fire was out, but the oven and microwave were not in good shape.

The Fire Department boss basically kicked us out of the house when the professional cleaning crew came in. This was because the ultra-fine dust from the extinguisher had coated everything and invaded the rest of the house. This is toxic stuff and the crew used masks for their work.

We headed north for four nights and stayed in a friend’s cabin at Little Bear lake, about 320 km northeast of Saskatoon, in the heart of beautiful aspen parkland country. This put us out of Internet and cell phone contact, which was, in some ways, a blessing.

When we got back we discovered that we have no clothes, no kitchen appliances (large or small) and only three rooms that we could occupy. The cleaners had use hepafilter machines to remove all traces of the extinguisher dust and they tell me that all electronic stuff is done for. Toaster, kettle, coffee machine, printer, etc etc. All must be replaced. The clothes have gone to be washed or dry-cleaned and we have no word on when we will get them back. I may not have any usable wool socks if they put them through a dryer, and I only use wool socks. Any food packets that had been opened are also dumped, so our larder looks a bit like mother Hubbard's.

On the bright side, the weather has been amazing. At the lake the temperatures were consistently above 20 degrees during the afternoons, and there was lots of sunshine. The canoeing was serene. The Northern Lights had a small show one evening and when we got home Oncidium orchids that have been blooming in series since about February have gone absolutely nuts, as if to welcome us. Gorgeous!

The bottom line? Don’t snooze when making wax for preserves. Don’t let your kitchen catch fire, but if it does, make sure that you have a handy fire extinguisher. Fire extinguisher dust is nasty, but no home would be a lot nastier.


Diane said...

I am so sorry this has happened to you. I know only too well what it is like. I had a pan of cooking oil ignite when I lived in Raffingora (Rhodesia as it was then). Luckily we did manage to container everything to only the kitchen.
Our weather here in France is amazing as well. October, and today we were 31C in the shade, unheard of. Diane

Jerry Haigh said...

Thanks Diane,
Your fire probaly happened years back, but it is still a clear memory. At least we are all okay!