Wednesday, June 15, 2005

FIRE! Why an open box of baking soda in an obvious & easy-to-reach place could save your life

Have you ever heard the old expression “Oil and water don’t mix?” Well, that’s no joke. If you try to douse an oil or gas fire with water, the oil or gas will just float on the surface and the fire will spread. You can’t drown a gas fire—you have to SMOTHER it!!!

That’s why I’ve kept an open box of baking soda in a highly visible and easily-accessible place in the kitchen—namely, on top of the refrigerator—for as many years as I can remember.

And that’s what my husband used to put out the fire when the plastic challah board fell onto a burner that I’d left turned on for Yom Tov and starting blazing away like the bleeping blue blazes.

Half an hour and four firefighters later, we surveyed the damage. The stove hood is now scrap metal, since the four fine fellows from the Fire Department of New York—G-d bless New York’s Bravest!—pried it part way off the cabinet to which it was attached to ensure that there was no hidden fire between it and the cabinet. The stove may need to be replaced. The countertop is warped next to where the fire was. And, of course, we’ll have to replace the poor challah board, among with a few other items that were damaged. Still, I can’t complain about the fact that no one was injured, Baruch HaShem (Praised is G-d). (Or perhaps “Baruch HaGomel, Praised is the One Who bestows favors,” the brachah/blessing for having escaped danger, would be more appropriate.)

So here’s the way the next few days are shaping up:

The mess in the kitchen has to be cleaned.

The homeowner’s insurance claim has to be made.

And this old lady, still trying to recover from the runny nose, bronchitis, and larygitis that kept her out of shul on Shavuot , except for our truncated “mini” Tikkun Lel Shavuot that lasted less than two hours, has to put herself to bed so that she can drag what’s left of herself back to the hospital tomorrow, her husband having landed there with yet another kidney-stone attack only hours after the fire, and find out what kind of surgery the doctors have in mind for him.

On the plus side, at least the tornado that was threatening to hit the midwestern university at which our Young Scientist is doing a summer research project was kind enough to change its mind.

If I never again have a Shavuot this “exciting,” I’ll be a very happy person.


By the time I'd pried myself out of bed, done a little clean-up in the kitchen, and was ready to leave, Paul called to say he was on his way home from the hospital. Outpatient surgery is scheduled for Monday.

Okay, so I'm an idiot--never having had to make a homeowner's insurance claim before, it didn't occur to me to leave the kitchen as it was was until after the insurance folks had appraised the damage. (Sigh--and here I was trying to make the place semi-livable for when the Punster finally got kicked out of the hospital for being too healthy.) Well, for better or for worse, there's still plenty of damage to be seen.

On the plus side, we still have a working refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot (which we use for boiling tea water), and hot tray, so we won't need to live on tuna salad.


Blogger Noam S said...

I hope everyone feels better very soon, refuah shelemah, and the house gets fixed in a timely manner, b'mehera(speedily). I could always send you some pizza, or some excellent Chicago burgers

Thu Jun 16, 09:19:00 AM 2005  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

OMG you are so lucky! It seems like every other year or so we hear about someone's house burning down because of chanukah candles or a range left on over yom tov. I'm glad everyone is ok.

Thu Jun 16, 09:23:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

dilbert, from your mouth to HaShem's "ears," as the old Yiddish saying goes, not to mention b'karov (soon). Mmm, Chicago burgers . . . :)

PT, you ain't kiddin'. That was a close call.

Thanks to both of you for your good wishes.

Thu Jun 16, 11:49:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Well, we're in a co-op, so we get the honor of paying for the damage out of our own hides. (Maybe it was the same for you.) But at least we're still here to tell the tale.

Fri Jun 17, 12:07:00 PM 2005  

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