a not so subtle reminder.

We were recently rearranging rugs when I noticed a big, black footprint stain. I was like, “what is that?” Danny started laughing and was quick to remind me it was from a fire fighter’s big ‘ole boot covered in soot. Oh yeah.

It was a year ago today I saw a recipe for homemade onion rings on Cupcakes and Cashmere and thought, “Why not – I can give those a whirl tonight.” So, I asked a coworker how to deep fry something without a deep fryer and headed home to make some onion ring for me and Ting – domestic, right?

I’ll try to keep this short – but you really should read and learn from my scary, messy and expensive mistake.

I cut everything up and started heating oil in a large pot which I covered to avoid splashing. Then, I realized I needed baking powder so I asked Danny to ride his bike to the market to grab some. 

A few minutes after Danny left, the pot was steaming – kinda like when you boil water and it steams so you take off the lid to avoid to boiling over. Well, when I took off the lid it went up in flames. I panicked for a minute and tried to put the lid back on but I burned my arm so I dropped the lid and decided to wet a dish cloth and throw it on there (I remember thinking – it can’t be dry and do not fan the fire). Well, I missed the flaming pot so I did the next instinctual thing – grabbed a glass of water and threw. Right? Put fire out with water. WRONG.

This is when the entire thing ignited and went up into huge flames and a black smoke cloud filled our kitchen.

At this point the smoke alarm was going off, so I grabbed Hunter and Sydney, my phone, called 911 and ran out of the house. I was convinced our newly renovated kitchen and/or house was about to burn down.
Danny rode up a minute later and saw me hysterical on the phone in the front yard holding the dogs, ran in and was able to get the stove off and opened a couple doors to help let the smoke out. The fire trucks arrived within minutes and handled everything from there. (The next few minutes were pure hysterics and the 911 lady trying to calm me down, “ma’am, help is on the way. ma’am, please calm down.”) The best part was Sydney leaping into the fire fighters arms when he showed up to check on us. It was like she was screaming, “save me! save me!” So sweet.
Considering what I now know about grease fires – we’re really lucky. I was okay and so were the kids. We were left with about $11,000 worth of damage to our very newly remodeled house. We had to replace all of our top cabinets, our curtains that had burned up, all the lights in our kitchen that melted, pay for a chemical detox of the house and repaint the kitchen, the living room, the sitting room and dining room plus all the ceilings. Oh, and all of our cushions, couches, frames, decor and fabric stuff had a nice glaze of smoke and grease.

The smell was awful. We had little bowls of baking soda and vinegar sitting all over our house to help absorb the burnt smell. And, we got to spend an entire weekend using a little soot eraser taking the soot off of every square inch of wall and ceiling – not fun. 

So, consider this a cautionary tale. Whatever you do, DO NOT throw water (or flour) on a grease fire.
Take 34 seconds and watch this British public service announcement to visually learn what I wish I knew then. 
(There are other videos too – and baking powder is another great thing to have handy to throw on the fire. Ironically, what Danny was off to the store to get!)

This is a photo of our cabinets after the fire guys cleaned and wiped everything off. 
They were BLACK – but you can see the tops are totally charred.

Our typically white ceilings were black as night.
And I love how the one little pot is sitting in our front lawn as the guys work on our house. 

I’m lucky he loves me. Did you ever hear the story about when I flooded our last house? 
Did I mention brand new wood flooring?

1 Comment

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Beth

    Peter’s favorite wedding gift to give is a fire extinguisher. I always make fun of him and deny him the pleasure of brining the awkward present to the reception – but now I’m thinking it might be a good idea ;)

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