London Flat is burning down, burning down...A lucky escape

Discussion in 'Community' started by AlBDamned, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. AlBDamned macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #1
    Just a quick note to all of you - go home tonight and check your smoke alarms.

    Last night, my flatmate, in a slightly sozzled state, got home and decided to cook herself a vat of spaghetti. She then actually went to bed and left it on the [gas] stove burning away at full blast. My girlfriend and I awoke at 3am to find we were breathing light smoke and our alarm was just going into top gear.

    Luckily, only the bottom of the pan had reached flame temperature and I managed to get it off (still in sleep shorts - very dodgy!) but it shows you how easily it can happen. Was a might scary to say the least (though it could have been plenty worse). Aside from a mild Asthma problem and a rather acrid smell in the flat, it worked out ok, but if that alarm had not gone off, it could have been good night Vienna.

    A lucky escape indeed.

    So - go home and check you alarms! Ours has become my new favourite gadget (with a nice stock of Duracell Ultra batteries to keep him happy).
     
  2. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Lucky indeed. I've got 3, and a fire extinguisher but I smoke and am paranoid about burning the house down. A friend is a paramedic and regularly tells us about people who set fire to their own houses.
    Glad you're OK and you're right - check the smoke alarms.
     
  3. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #3
    glad to hear you're ok!! could have been a disaster :eek: :eek:
     
  4. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #4
    Thanks guys. Is it irony that there's adverts for wood burning stoves on the bottom of this page!!??!

    It was worrying. Makes you think. If that alarm hadn't been working it would have been areally different story. The smoke, not the heat would have got us and we wouldn't have known about it.

    Edit: It's back to advertising Macs now... :confused:
     
  5. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Londinium
    #5
    And back to wood burning stoves - for me anyway!

    Thanks for the timely reminder - I unplugged out kitchen fire alarm the last time my housemate was cooking sausages on a not-to-clean grill. It hasn't been plugged in for a good 3 months now.

    Glad to see it was only a minor issue for you - I've got to stop viewing the kitchens fire alarm as an annoyance and more of a potential life saver!
     
  6. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #6
    Ah yes - there they are again.

    I too have left the battery out before when it has gone off from cooking (badly). Never again will I. I think that's what made me reflect on it more.
     
  7. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #7
    The smoke alarm in our old flat was so badly positioned that it went of everytime someone boiled the kettle, as a result it was unplugged for the 8years I lived there.
    As for the sozzeled flat mate cooking, my sister forgot that microwave ovens cook quicker than traditional ones when a little tipsy. She normal cooks her jacket potato for an hour or so and tried the same in the micro wave. When the smoke alarm went off I tried to take the plate out using oven gloves but it charred them black just moving the ceramic plate from oven to a chopping board. It charred the chopping board so I took it out side and dumped it in the glass bin. The plate slid across the other glass to the side of the plastic bin and just melted striaght through the bin like a very hot knife through butter!
    The strangest thing was the potato vanished/vaporized!! :eek:
     
  8. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #8
    That sounds like a bad situation. Guess you're also lucky she didn't put foil on the spud like you can do for oven cooking - would have had an electrical storm in your kitchen! :eek: !

    My flatmate feels bad though. We're moving out tomorrow and I'm hoping our landlady doesn't notice any smell too much or it could be bye-bye deposit (£500)!
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    Good advice, and glad you're okay! :)

    And I think that's why I'm glad we have pizza places that are open at 3AM for you to get your fix when you're... ahem... sozzled was the word you used? :)
     
  10. moot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    in the great Asian wonderland
    #10
    Thank you for your story and your advice. I immediately checked and discovered mine was without battery.

    Apparently my girlfriend removed the battery when it went off after having a cigarette :eek:

    I hope it never comes to pass, but your story could end up saving someone in the future

    thanks again
     
  11. mymemory macrumors 68020

    mymemory

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Location:
    Miami
    #11
    I would be more concerned about your flatmate cooking again :rolleyes:
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #12
    Sozzled, rat-arsed, wellied. What's the difference?
    :)
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #13
    Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm planning on getting a little wuzzy myself tonight. :p

    But no spaghetti for me. :eek: :eek:
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #14
    You can also get carbon dioxide sensors that just plug into a wall (mains) outlet. These are useful for fires that don't create enough smoke to trigger a smoke alarm but can asphyxiate you without any odor or warning. Charcoal briquettes, kerosene or propane burning appliances -- all of which should never be used indoors -- are the primary causes of CO2 death.

    CO2 detectors pretty much never have a false alarm.

    Both types of detectors together should be used
     
  15. scubabeano macrumors member

    scubabeano

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #15
    Is anyone else looking at a dismantled smoke alarm sitting next to their computer, because they keep forgetting to buy 9v batteries?
    i'm writing 'must buy batteries' in big letters on my forehead before i go to sleep tonight...
     
  16. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #16
    Yikes! I'm so glad that you're OK. One of my ex's went home one night, stuck a pan of baked beans on the hob and woke up with the smoke alarm having a canary.

    I also recall an ex flatmate in Newcastle who put a Xmas mincepie in the microwave for 10 minutes to find it turned into a piece of charcoal after 3 minutes and and ran upstairs, past the smoking microwave, to ask me to do something.

    However, I will go and check my smoke alarm now... and rescue my curry from the oven.
     
  17. camomac macrumors 6502a

    camomac

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Left Coast
    #17
    one of my ex's house mates (tom) fell asleep while cooking top ramen on the stove. he was pretty messed up and just passed out. the boiling water soon gave way to a burning pot. luckily the smoke alarm went off. but the house was filled with black smoke.

    after that i began to call him tom ramen. he didn't like it too much. :D
     
  18. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    #18
    You ought to be. In the U.S., the foam in couches is made from a petroleum derivative (sp?) I burned a couch a couple weeks ago (old couch). I lit ONE match, and stuck it on the couch. It smoldered for about 2 minutes, then ignited. After about 5 minutes, it was completely aflame. It was that quick.
     
  19. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #19
    She won't be, at least not in my vicinity. We've now moved out as planned so we're installed in our new flat and, it seems there's an unsecured belkin network in this building!! It's 2.5 weeks till we get our phone installed so that's good news.

    Back to the topic and another warning; it seems my [ex] flatmate may have had her drink spiked. Apparently, the spaghetti episode was preceeded by only four drinks, after which, she started feeling woozy and woke up in bed at 1pm the next day. No memory of crashing around, no memory of starting the infamous spaghetti, Nada.

    I have to say, she had never done anything like that before so it was out of character. Beware the Fez nightclub in Putney, that's all I can say!

    Glad to see plenty of you have checked your alarms. We've got one in the new place and it works like a dream!
     
  20. XIII macrumors 68040

    XIII

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #20
    Close shave.. Lucky. :)

    Our fire alarm lets us know by beeping every hour once when it needs new batteries. :)
     
  21. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #21

    Thing is though, they only bleep when the battery is in... (^^^^^^)...
     
  22. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #22
    Here all furniture is supposed to be made from flame retardant material, to prevent this sort of thing happening. It's been this way since at least '97 so in theory all sofas and mattresses that you have shouldn't do that. I'm not in a burning rush to test the theory though.
    Also doesn't apply to things like duvets, pillows or cushions - the stuff that a cigarette will usually hit first.
    Like AlBDamned says - check the batteries, or at least put one in :p
    And get a fire extinguisher. £20 well spent.
     
  23. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #23
    And then put a reminder in iCal for a few years time to buy another one if you don't use it. They're only guaranteed to work for a few years - your office ones have to be replaced/checked every 12 months. Not advocating that for the house but a good idea.

    And if you're buying it to use for potential kitchen fires (rather than the sofa), make sure it's a carbon dioxide/foam one rather than a water based one.
     
  24. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #24
    That sounds more like a pi$$ poor excuse for almost burning your flat down to me. ;) :p
     
  25. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #25

    Funny - that's what we thought too.... Giving her the benefit of the doubt though as I didn't want to end our tenancy on bad terms.
     

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