Saturday, August 15, 2009

OMG! - I Almost Burnt my Apartment Down Tonight

Saturday, 15 August 11:48 PM (Paris Time) whole life almost changed! I am so grateful for God who MUST be watching over me. A few minutes ago, I almost burnt my entire apartment down! My hands are still shaking as I type.

So what happened? Well, it all started with a nice Saturday evening, watching the Coco Chanel movie on my laptop. At first I made some cream cheese dip and crackers to enjoy while watching the movie and later I got the idea to pop some popcorn. I've popped popcorn a few times before in a pot on top of the stove. Thank God, that tonight, I decided not to use as much oil as I normally do. I thought by using less oil, it would make the popcorn I only poured about half the oil I usually use.

I put the pot on the stove, threw one kernel in, which was a mistake, because I usually put three kernels in which I hear when they pop and know that the oil is hot enough. I did not hear when the one kernel popped...I was watching the movie...

Suddenly, I remembered the oil and the one kernel on the stove. I looked over at the stove top to see the pot overflowing with smoke seeping out the edges of the top like dry ice. I immediately took the pot off the burner and lifted the top slightly to see if the kernel was popped (why?...I don't know.)...The room started to fill with smoke, so I went to hold the pot next to the open window and the outside air. I failed university chemistry, but I think that was the wrong move, because it seems like the air and the slightly opened lid created a huge flame inside that pushed its way over the top of the pot and billowed in the night air.

I got scared and knew I could not hold a flaming torch of a pot outside the window. I looked down and thought about yelling as I drop the flaming pot down the five stories to the street below, but there were cars lining the street that I imagined blowing up in the fire. Also I did not know what to yell in French, so I pulled the flaming pot back inside the window as I watched the bright orange flames reach out towards the curtains as I brought the pot back inside. "$#%^&@#" I thought. "I cannot believe this is happening."

Everything seem to be happening in slow motion as I stood there in the middle of my studio holding a flaming pot in one hand, waiting for the curtains to ignite. Thank God, the flames did not reach far enough. The curtains were not set ablaze. I stood there holding the flaming pot with my mind moving in slow motion as I looked at the sink and thought about dousing the pot with water, but also knowing that grease, water and fire are not a good combination.

I thought about running down five flights of stairs out to the courtyard in the back, but just as quickly imagined burning down the entire stairwell on my way down, leaving other residents no way out. So I just stood there, visualizing fire trucks, and wondering how much would my insurance company cover. Holding the flaming pot in one hand, I slowly slid the lid back over the top, and just as I did, there was a small muffled "Boom!" inside the pot, so I left the lid slightly opened, waiting for the pot to explode perhaps. I realized, the one kernel finally popped. I reached across the room keeping the flames in the center of the room away from everything, and started typing on my laptop with one hand...g-r-e-a-s-e f-i-r-e...

The first page pops up...explaining how grease fires are started - No #$%^@! I already know the fire started from an unattended pot of grease on the stove! Help! I need some advice.

The second page...advises, call 9-1-1 and get out - I can't call 9-1-1 from Paris! %&*$#!

The third page...explains, "The easiest way to smother a grease fire is to put a lid over the fire".

Thank God the grease was slowly burning down, so I completely slid the lid over the pot....and stood there in the middle of my studio, waiting for the smoke to clear and the pot to cool off....Thank God again, I already had both windows open, and thank God, I did not drop the flaming pot to the street, the curtains did not catch on fire, nor did I drop the pot on the wall-to-wall carpet.

Tonight I am convinced that God is watching over me and I am so grateful for that. I was shaking and nervous afterwards, and now it seems like it all happened in slow motion. I am thankful that I did not panic. Although, this was not half as scary as being stuck in a tiny elevator!

The first week I arrived in Paris, I helped Adrian install fire detectors in her apartment, and I've always had intentions of putting one in my apartment along with an extinguisher. Monday, when the stores are open again, I will buy a small fire extinguisher and smoke detector. I promise myself.

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