Sunday, June 26, 2005

A word of warning...

Okay, please please learn from my stupid mistake. Friday afternoon I'd just finished watching Oprah (naturally). My daughter was at work. The "kids" (my two Scotties - better known as The Scottinators) and I were just getting ready to turn off the TV and go back to my writing room when I heard a weird "WHOOSH!" I looked out the window that goes to my patio and it was framed in orange flames! Holy shit!! So I rushed to my back door (the wood door was open - so I could easily see out my glass outside door) and my entire patio, including the wall of my condo and the balcony above me, was consumed in flames. Scared shitless, I call 911. Thank God the fire dept is just down the street. They were here in less than 5 minutes, but even in that short amount of time all of the siding on that wall had melted off - the wood had been burned through - and the fire was in my ducts. Yes, they got everything put out, and the inside damage isn't too terrible. Outside - well, it's bad, but it can be fixed.

Here's what caused it. Just the day before I'd bought some citronella candles. One was in a clay pot. The mosquitoes have been awful out on my patio, so that evening about 4:00-ish I'd lit the candles on the patio. I put the one in the pot on top of my gigantic, heavy-duty dog crate (where The Scottinators sleep at night). In less than an hour that candle some how caused the crate to catch on fire. The crate was pushed up against the wall of my condo, so the flames just spread all over, especially as the crate melted and mixed with the candle wax.

I was incredibly lucky. Had it happened five minutes later when I was on the other side of the condo in my writing room I would not have known about it until the whole building was on fire. The firemen told me that candle related accidents have gone up 40% in the last year. And, yes, I am a BIG candle burner. So...please remember to check and double check what you put your candles on or near. I would have never believed that the crate would have gone up in flames like that.



Darla said...

YIKES. Obviously, one of your goddesses was looking out for you. Thank goodness nobody was hurt.

Gena Showalter said...

Oh, man. I'm soooo sorry! How scary. I'm here if you need me for anything!

P.S. Any hunky fireman?

Anonymous said...

((((((((PC)))))))) I'm glad it wasn't worse but still that must have been a little scary.

Michele said...

I am so glad to hear you are OK.
I had a plastic soda bottle go up in flames. Couldn't believe how fast it spread.
The smell and black soot can be offensive but that pales in comparison when you realize how lucky you are to be totally safe and sound.
Gel candles are known for spontaneous combustion FYI.

PC Cast said...

Thanks guys. Yes, a goddess was definitely looking out after me!

Gena - now that you mention it...Even through my hysteria I did manage to notice a lovely buffet of hunky firemen. My neighbors oogled them, too. I'm definitely baking cookies and taking a stroll down to the fire station (research purposes only, mind you). Hey - wanna come with?

Michele - yeah, I was absolutely shocked by how fast it spread. Hot wax, melting plastic, melting siding, and the wood balcony - it all went up. I was really lucky.

Now I just have to deal with insurance issues. Sigh.

Hey Gena! How's your wip coming along?