Kitchen Fire 01/14/15

[pics incl] Our angels were working overtime! No, I didn’t do it! Jeff, Ashley and William left this morning…

Heather, Courtney and I were ASLEEP when the stove caught fire. Heather’s calm, quick thinking saved us & house.

Very thankful to be alive, details & pics later, we have abandoned ship to Starbucks while smoke clears.

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[later in the evening] OK, details…. apparently a plastic igloo cooler was on the oven cooktop and somehow bumped the knobs to turn the burner on. Once it caught fire, it set off the smoke alarms but only for like 15 seconds and then off.  It repeated that.  Courtney and I were on the top floor with doors closed, each telling the other to “MAKE IT STOP!” thinking that it was just the batteries dying [].  Heather also made that assumption.  UNTIL, they began BLARING. Fortunately, I did have in earplugs and it was LOUD but I thought it was coming from upstairs somewhere and I had been looking around my bathroom for something that would make them beep.  I decided it must’ve been Courtney’s alarm beeping so I opened my bedroom door….. AND THAT SUCKED ALL THE SMOKE UPSTAIRS!

Meanwhile, Heather (lives in the basement) took off upstairs and found the fire AND THE SMOKE.  She kept her wits about her and realized that we were still upstairs.  Realizing it wasn’t a grease fire, she grabbed the water sprayer from the sink and started spritzing the cabinets and microwave to put out some of the leaping flames.  Meanwhile, she was calmly but LOUDLY SCREAMING for us to “get out of the house the kitchen is on fire!”  When we opened our bedroom doors, the upstairs filled rapidly with smoke.  All three cats tried to rescue us and stayed right by our feet begging us to pick them up.

When the cooler caught fire, it burned away the stovetop knobs and we were unable to turn off the burner, nor stop the fire of all the melted plastic, until Heather bolted outside to trip the breaker.  It took a minute or two for the fire to dissipate.  The entire house was full of very opaque white smoke… and toxic.

We left all the doors and windows open, and I turned off the heater.  We changed clothes because up until this point we were all in PJ’s of t-shirt and shorts (it was 26 degrees outside)!  We also grabbed our “go bags” (hehe… ok not really).  We had a pre-determined plan so Courtney rescued her teddy bear and was ready to meet at the McLain’s trees. 😉

Knowing we were getting the fire under control quickly, I didn’t need to call 911, but I called Jeff who was still in route to drop kids at school… at this time, the safest place for them to stay.  He met us at Starbucks and we grabbed some breakfast while waiting for the smoke to clear.  During this time, Heather started feeling bad so we left and went straight to urgent care.  Jeff dropped us off while he and Courtney went to check on the house and call the insurance.  When the doctor called Heather back, I was still coughing pretty horribly, so they ordered me back with her.  Her chest x-rays were clear… WHEW! (I didn’t take any) but we both have some smoke inhalation (Courtney probably does too).  [NOTE:  we still have the nebulizer from when Jeff and Heather had pneumonia before Christmas.]  The ordered us to do nebulizer treatments for a few days.

I have to say, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A TOTAL LOSS!  While the photos show the fire damage is contained to the kitchen stove area, the entire upper two floors are covered is ash and soot from the smoke.

Our insurance company is AWESOME!  The claims adjuster was here shortly after we came home from the doctor office.  While he was here, he called the “fire mitigation team” and they arrived within and hour!  The removed all the damaged appliances, set up some sort of air purifying gadget with the blue lights 😉 and they will be back tomorrow to begin cleaning and removing soot from each of the rooms, walls and carpets from both upper floors.  (the basement didn’t suck any of the smoke down).



**[NOTE UPDATE :  Some funnies in the face of danger 😉 and “more details” for the “Rest of the story”

**When the alarm kept buzzing, Courtney and I were hollering at each other through the wall.  At one point, she said “Are you cooking?!”  Me: “Shut-up, I’m not cooking, it’s 6:45am… I WAS ASLEEP!”

**When I said I was looking in my bathroom… work through this w/ me:  I had been asleep.  My head had been seriously hurting so at around 5am, I txt’d Heather that I had already taken showers, meds, etc… “I’m taking ‘real drugs’ so that puts YOU on call, in case kids need anything.”  “OK, let me know if you need anything.”  Remember the time 6:45am… I WAS DRUGGED.”  I stood here, arguing with Courtney but at the same time… ” could something be causing the alarm?”  Let me check in that bathroom, in case my mostly bald husband, decided to turn on my curling iron and set something on it?… For the record, it wasn’t on 😉  I can neither confirm nor deny if he had used it. ;-P

**Heather ASSUMED correctly, that Courtney and I would NOT get up to replace a battery.  Tag, she was it.  She also KNEW I was drugged and was kinda panicking that I would not be awake.

**Courtney was still IN BED, when I opened the door and got blasted with smoke.  I BANGED on her door and yelled “there’s a fire!”  I managed to get to the stairs and only THEN could I hear Heather screaming about the fire.  I yelled at Courtney and worked my way down the stairs in the smoke. to the kitchen.

**As Heather was spraying the ceiling, the smoke would briefly clear and I could see the ice chest on the ceramic cooktop, it was roaring flames and had melted the microwave & started a fire on the microwave.  The plastic from the microwave was “dripping” onto the burner that was on.  Continuous loop, cooktop melts icechest–more fire–fire melts microwave–more fire UP… liquid plastic onto burner–more fire.  Microwave caught cabinet above on fire and ceiling.  ice chest caught the burners on fire, the melted off.  Burner was STILL on.  I said “burner is on, knobs burned off, we can’t turn off!”  THIS IS WHEN I CALLED JEFF… ALARM BLARING…me: “the kitchen is on fire!” Jeff: (I dunno if I was on speaker or not, I couldn’t hear over the alarm) “What?!” “ya’ll set the kitchen on fire!  ice chest on the cooktop, burner is on, knobs burned off, we can’t turn off!” 

But at the same time I pointed to out power box and that is all I needed to do.  Heather ran outside, in 12 degrees, left front door open.  Jeff: “do we need to come back?” “NO! TOXIC smoke, we are leaving, Ashley can’t be here! I’ll call you back!” [ALARM STILL BLARING!!]  

**Courtney got down the stairs as I was sliding open the back door.  Heather banged on that window and Courtney ran to open it.  Heather had tripped a breaker but wanted to be certain it was the right one.  Within moments of turning it off, the plastic FROZE IN PLACE (it was now abt 40 degrees in the house and dropping.)  We all met near the hallway… with the cats… AND THE ALARM.  We could see the fire going out, Heather sprayed the cabinet and ceiling again from “the backdoor area” of the sink.  I turned off the heater.  All of us back to the front door… with the cats…   [ALARM STILL BLARING]

**All of us talking… “We need to leave, this is a chemical fire/smoke ” “do ya’ll   have things you can grab in 1 minute?”  “Go change, grab you laptops IF THEY ARE HANDY, I’ll get “important papers go bag” [that’s not what we call it ;-)]  but you have 2 minutes to get back to this spot or I call 911.”  “go!”

**We all had our laptop bags actually packed up already, so THAT was easy.  I grabbed the important papers, jumped in jeans and we all were at the door again in about a minute!

**”Cats?!” Heather, they followed me to basement, it’s clear of smoke.  I closed the door.”  [ALARM STILL BLARING!]

**Leave door open, let’s go. [ALARM STILL BLARING!] I called Jeff.  “We got it out, we are leaving to to Starbucks at Safeway!”  Jeff: “kids wanna come back, do we need to meet you?” “we are safe, fire is out, (now in car), it’s still deep thick heavy smoke and Ashley cannot be here w/ asthma.  we are going up to wait for it to clear and we need chocolate!” “I’ll drop them off and meet you there.”

**he met us there but very quickly we decided “we need waffles” AND “we NEED pie!”


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