Monday, March 10, 2008

Keep the home fires burning - Smoke gets in my eyes

We had some recent excitement at our house. (The picture above was taken in London at 221b Baker St) Kerry came back from a shot time out to find the house filled with smoke. It was not black and billowing, but it did fill the house. After a quick look around for a fire, she decided to call our fireman friend. Not the fire department, but our friend. She give him a call on his mobile, explains her situation, and asked his advice. (He happened to be on duty and at the fire station that serves our house.) He advised that she should hang up, call 9-1-1, and he'd come with some others in the big red trucks.

A few minutes pass, and Kerry hears the sound of the sirens. Moments later there are three trucks and scores of firemen at the house.

The start looking for the source of the smoke, but cannot find it. They bring an electronic heat sensor to look for any hot spots. What do they discover? It's not the usual worries: curling iron, clothes iron, dryer, toaster, electrical short. No it's none of these. It was something that left all the firemen puzzled -- In our window box we keep an ice bucket. Kerry had tossed some pot holders into the bucket. These pot holders has not been recently used. The day of the smoke, the oven had not been used. The firemen speculate that the sun reflected in the bucket in such a way (like a solar furnace) that it cased the pot holders to smolder, and possible ignite. The heat was so great that the handles of the bucked popped off, and the tile became scorched.

Because the bucket was metal, and there were no other sources of ignition nearby we had only light smoke damage. It could have been much worse. They brought in huge fans to clear the air. When they left all that remained was the smoky smell like a campfire.

Lesson: Examine all areas in the home that receive sun light, and determine if any container in the sun may become like a solar furnace. Sounds like a fun day

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