Tigerlilly Quinn: How to (almost) burn down your kitchen..

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

How to (almost) burn down your kitchen..


If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have heard the story of how I almost burn't down our kitchen..
Lets start by saying I may not be the smartest crayon in the crayon box. I took this now rather hilarious 'before' picture with the intention of doing a 'how to reuse old crayons' style craft post.

Long story short it is not wise to assume a instruction to set the oven at 220 is referring to centigrade when it is an American website that uses fahrenheit. Still common sense would have told most people that right?



I set my timer for 5 minutes and three minutes later (when the fire alarm went off) went back in to turn the oven off. When I realised the kitchen was already full of thick smoke I opened the windows and doors and started flapping the alarm to turn it off before waking up a napping Wilf. At that point I didn't actually realise how bad it was. Seconds later I turned around to see the oven was on fire.

I think I may have frozen for all of one second, before I grabbed the nearest towel to hand to wet and chuck in the oven. The fire was still spreading, to me it felt like it was almost reaching the ceiling but afterwards with no evidence of that I think I must that must have been an exaggeration. 

There was a moment when the towel did not kill the flames that I wondered whether now was the time to get Wilf and I out, call the fire brigade and leave the kitchen to it until they arrived. Instead I grabbed a blanket from the living room, soaked it hurriedly and bunged it in the oven (which I could barely see so thick was the smoke). It killed the fire but the house was filling with smoke and I ran to Wilf's cot (him still asleep!) and found myself crying and shaking on my neighbours doorstep. 

It was at this point I realised I was in my socks and that they were soaking wet. I had smashed a bottle of beer onto the floor when I was flinging the towel in. Later I found I had cut my toe but I don't really have any relocation of the two things happening at the time. 

My neighbour made me a cup of tea and we went back to the house together, opening all the windows and sweeping up the glass. Wilf and I sat in the front garden whilst my Sister In Law came round with biscuits. The house by this point just smelt like candle.

I think that most of all the thing that has shaken me up mostly about all this is the 'what if'. For days now I have tormented myself with different scenarios. (My SIL even pointed out to me that I was in-fact putting out a fire in a highly flammable floaty skirt, there were so many points in which that could have caught light.) Really though it was the fact that Wilf was here, upstairs in bed, that I am supposed to be looking after him and I literally risked his life over stupidity. Despite so many kind words I just can't let myself off that one. 

Three days on and we can laugh at it a little but I am definitely still shaken up about it. Heading home from the park we saw two fire engines go past on the way to our street and I checked off in my head all the things I could have done before we left that may resulted in a fire. Part of me was surprised when we got home to find our house was still standing. I've told Tom that we need to invest in fire blankets, extinguishers and a new brain for me. I can't tell you how many people I've chastised for not having working fire alarms since telling this story. SERIOUSLY go buy one or put the batteries back in even if it goes off every time you make toast.

Oh and here is the 'after'...



26 comments:

The Mummy Diary said...

Oh my goodness, what an experience. The main thing is you were both safe and you don't sound that daft, you didn't panic and did what needed to be done.

I had really wanted to give the wax crayon thing a go, am kinda glad I didn't now...not sure I would have double checked the temp either.

We have two smoke alarms and I always test them, have even been known to change a battery at 2 in the morning.

Glad you are both safe xx

Lila said...

Scary stuff, if it's any consolation I once microwaved a plastic packaged burrito for 10 minutes instead of seconds. Didn't set fire to house but microwave exploded and the house stunk for weeks.

Lisa Gillies said...

Very scary indeed but please concentrate on the positives rather than the "what if's".

You & your little one are safe & your house will now be more fire ready than most.

I'd be intrigued to know if you'll try the crayons again?

Lia said...

Oh my goodness, you poor thing! Scary stuff but glad you are both safe. If its any consolation I once set fire to a kettle by putting a brand new electric one on the gas hob and turning it on - doh!

You're right about the smoke alarms, one thing people should never be lazy about.

Kath Bee said...

Crikey, so scary. I won't be trying that particular craft. Glad to hear you are all OK.

Anonymous said...


I think you made an honest mistake that could happen to anyone! Most of all, I think you should be so proud of how you reacted so quickly! Not everyone has such good instincts!
No harm came so anyone (other than the oven) and we learn from our mistakes. Now others can learn from yours.

Thank you for sharing this.

@orlypea

Bonnie Rose said...

This still terrifies me because I have almost tried this one too. So glad you guys are all okay.

Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

Rachel said...

I thought this was going to be a funny story but that sounds terrifying! Really an easy mistake to make though. I once left my ghd hair straighteners turned on and threw a piece of polystyrene on top (student days, i was a slob!) and didn't realise until the smoke started filling the room. For months if not years after that, I used to wake up in the middle of the night convinced I could smell smoke and I'd have to go and check.

I also had an incident with a microwave, although it wasn't my fault, i think the microwave malfunctioned. I put a bagel in to defrost for one minute, went upstairs and heard a big bang. The bagel was literally a ring of charcoal and all the inside of the microwave was black. I have no idea what happened because it was in there for no longer than a minute. I'm still a bit scared of microwaves today!

Jackie Humphrey said...

Thank goodness you guys are okay! I can't say I've ever had that type of scare, so I can't imagine what was going through your head when it happened. But I am glad you and Wilf are okay <3

Laura Side Street said...

Aww this is awful, I hope your feeling better and not still to shaken.

The main thing is you are both safe and try not dwell to much in the what if, I am terrible for doing that, the best thing is to learn and try move forward. it's great that your response was so quick and you did what you needed to do and keep your child safe.

We have fire alarms but I hadn't even thought about fire blankets - I'm going to get one for the house now for sure - thanks so much for sharing this story :)

Laura x

Pink Ronnie said...

Oh my, yes, the 'What ifs' must be so hard... I'm so glad you guys are okay. And you're totally right. Working smoke alarms are absolutely essential to every home. I used to work for a fire safety company and so much of what we did was to help promote awareness of the importance of working alarms
Hugs,
Ronnie xo

Jess said...

awww you poor thing - i would of made the same mistake though, what-ifs are a nightmare, David let himself out of the house recently and I practically made myself vomit with what-if's for days even though he was just outside. having an extinguisher on hand is a fine idea - Im pretty stringent about my smoke alarms as dave can be a bit or a pyromaniac as well as an escape artist - but you did brilliantly.

Mum2BabyInsomniac said...

Oh my goodness, you poor thing that must have been terrifying! I would have done the exact same thing so don't be too hard on yourself. Glad you are all okay xx

fritha strickland said...

Ellie - well done! Glad you are so safely conscious, god its so important! xx

fritha strickland said...

Lila - that does make me feel better ;) x

fritha strickland said...

Lisa - ha no way!! thanks for your lovely comment x

fritha strickland said...

Lia - that makes me feel better, in fact my neighbour did the same thing as you! Hearing other people's silly stories makes me feel less of a fool for sure! xx

fritha strickland said...

Kath- ha I think it would be ok if you followed the instructions properly..but I wont be trying it again for sure! x

fritha strickland said...

Thanks so much Orla xx

fritha strickland said...

Thanks Bonnie xx

fritha strickland said...

Oh god Rachel you sound so much like me. I would have totally done that with the GHD's! I'm quite paranoid about straighteners though so no issues there yet! I totally relate to waking in the night about it. really gets to you doesnt it! x

fritha strickland said...

Thanks so much Jackie x

fritha strickland said...

Thanks Laura, I expected people to tell me what an idiot I was but everyone has praised how I reacted and put it out which makes me feel SO much better. xx

fritha strickland said...

Ronnie - Oh I can imagine how real fire safety is for you then! Tom watched a video on fire safety at work at Christmas and was really concerned that we turned off all lights etc. At the time I thought he was turning into a grumpy old man but I get it now! xx

fritha strickland said...

Jess - Oh gosh poor you, you are right its best not to think of the 'what ifs'! xx

fritha strickland said...

Thanks Jess, what a 'narna hey! xx

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