Monday, March 7, 2011

Stop, Drop and Roll

I've learned I'm really stupid around fire. I don't know if you call what I do "panicking" or not when I get around an unexpected fire.

If you count running around in circles looking at the fire, remembering frantically where I put the fire extinguisher, yelling, "What should we do? Should we pour water on it? Should I blow on it?" and "Can I hold anything for you?"--then, yes, I guess it is panicking.

It all started a few weeks ago. I had a baked potato explode in the oven and it created a royal mess; spuds everywhere. The exploded potato landed on the heater coils and smoked and smoldered so much that I had to open all of the doors and windows (the stove doesn't have an exhaust) during the latest cold snap. For several hours, one couldn't tell the difference from being inside the house or out.

I wanted to make a banana bread recipe that I found online but either didn't have the right ingredients nor the time to accomplish the task. Until today. The recipe called for a loaf pan that measured 9x5x3, I had a pan that measured 9x5x2.25, so I figured it was close enough and used that. The mixture fit nicely into the pan with ample room at the top for expansion--or so I thought.

The bread was going to take at least an hour to bake at 325, but within a few minutes, the oven began to smoke, and smoke, and smoke. I was occupied elsewhere and hadn't noticed how bad the smoke was getting until Friend asked if something was burning. I opened the oven door and more smoke billowed out; the banana bread had boiled over and was now smoldering on the floor of the oven. (I know, I should have placed a pan under it.)

Since I had been through this recently, I wasn't that worried. After a few more minutes and a lot more smoke--smoke that was coming up through one of the burners, I opened the door again and was met with a wall of smoke and a ball of fire. Holy crap! The oven was on fire.

"It's on fire!" I yelled.

Friend jumped up off the couch and rushed into the kitchen. "It's on fire! Get me something. Get me something!"

"What should I get? You want the fire extinguisher? Where the hell is it?

"I don't know. Don't you know where it is? Can you work it?" she asked as I pulled the extinguisher from the closet. "Get me some water?

"Should I blow on it?"

"No! Don't let the oxygen get to it. Get the racks out of there."

I was going in circles trying not to panic. I had found the fire extinguisher but I didn't know how to work it. I wanted to blow on the fire or possibly even find something like a dish towel to try and beat the flames down, and now, Friend, wanted a pan of water. "Are you going to throw that water on it?"

"No, I don't know what kind of fire it is. It could have grease in it. I'm going to take the bits of burning batter with these tongs and drop them in the pan of water. Now, hold the pan!"

Friend, so calm, so cool, so collected, even while I'm running around in circles, thinking the only thing I really remember about fire training is to Stop! Drop! And Roll!

BTW, we got the fire out and nothing was damaged. Except, maybe, the bread, it came out well done!


Rae said...

I'm the same way in an emergency situation. I've always heard to throw salt on an oven fire, so I keep a big box of salt within easy reach.
My broiler started smoking a few weeks ago...the oven worked fine. I think (heaven forbid) I was cooking a mouse that got caught somewhere in the mechanics.
He should be toast by now.

Molly said...

AS always your post is hilarious(glad you didn't get hurt) Kinda sounds like a Lucy show, Love it!

Anonymous said...

I set the oven on fire once. I was going to clean it automatically and I decided to clean the dirty broiler pans at the same time. I put them in the oven, set the self-clean function. About the time the heat lock set on the door, the broiler pans caught fire. Yes, smoke was pouring out of the oven, the kitchen, the vents.

I calmly told my husband that the oven was on fire, but it would just burn itself out. He heard ON fire and proceeded to save us all by battering on the locked oven door trying to get it open. I was shouting at him to stop it. By the time he heard me the fire had nearly burned itself out, but the oven door never worked properly after that.

Margaret Hall said...

Ahhhhh, ALWAYS a laugh at your blog! This was funny, BlogFriend! I "hear" ya about that gunk that so oozingly get on those coils! It took about 3 weeks to burn off some cheese puffs gunk from them at my oven! Fire in the kitchen is always panicky for me...An extinquisher?..Not! Don't tell my State Farm Agent!



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