Monday, December 3, 2007

The FIRE that was and wasn't... but, there were flames and the possiblity of burning the entire apartment down/etc.. or in other words.. OH MY GAWD!

It all started out innocently enough-- one night last week the lights went off and I went down the hallway to check on things-- and since, it was NIGHT.. and there was NO ELECTRICAL POWER.. it was dark and even darker in the entry way (where the fuse box is located and no windows to be found) So, I wandered back down to my bedroom to get my 'handy dandy' little flashlight that I had bought from one of the 'live commercials in the subway' a few months ago.

This cute little flashlight had so many nifty features.. a red flashing emergency light, a magnet to store it on something metal, the ability to recharge it by plugging it in the outlet.. but, it seems that all of those nifty features.. didn't include a bright light.. and for some reason .. there even seemed to be a blue plastic filter over the light... which prevented what little 'bright light' from being emitted.

Or in other words, you couldn't SEE ANYTHING using this flashlight. So, I go back down the dark hall to my bedroom and get another flashlight. I quickly noticed something strange- the individual switches were still in the correct positions- showing that power was still going to the different rooms/etc.. however, the main POWER switch for the entire apartment had 'tripped' or flipped off which was the reason for the lack of power.

So, I flipped the switch and all was well... I came home the next day from work, to a dark apartment. The power had switched off again. I flipped the switch again and all was well until about 3 hours later .. when it tripped off again. So, I left it off and went to bed. (I quickly learned that my heat depends on electricity.. because there were no more nice warm floors).. The next morning, I called my realtor to ask them to send an electrician to my apartment and that my house girl would be there all day.

So, on Thursday afternoon, I came home to 'ELECTRICITY'.. lovely, bright electricity.
All was well in my home. I appreciated my electricity, I used my electricity... until SUNDAY MORNING at 9am.. I was on the phone talking to a friend in the states and I had just told my friend all about my electricial problems that I'd been having and suddenly the power went off. So, I walked down the hall-- w/ my GOOD FLASHLIGHT and flipped the main switch back on again.

I had just told my friend that I didn't like that this had flipped off again.. and that I thought it was strange.. when, I looked up and saw that the outlet in the kitchen where my microwave was plugged in was ON FIRE and SHOOTING OUT flames about 12 inches or more in length in several directions.

I very calmly said, "Oh, there's a fire." and.. took my headphones off and I ran to the kitchen. (I had been talking to my friend on my computer phone) I finally got the fire out, and averted being burned by the melting, dripping plastic and metal adapter and microwave plug. I went down the hallway to flip all the fuse box switches off- to stop all electrical power.

I spent the night with a friend.

I had to take today (Monday) off from work for the electrician to come by. He was here from 9am- 2pm.. all day- except for about an hour and half that he left to get more parts and to take a lunch break.

He didn't speak any English- but, when he opened up the fusebox panel and found this:

He gestured towards my entire apartment and points at the fusebox and said: FIRE!..

It had also caught on fire at the fuse box!!! ALL the wires were melted and you could see where there had been a fire! (Sorry it doesn't show up in the photo- but, it was taken in the dark and it was hard to tell if it was in focus or not) *IF you look at the red cords- the two on the top left.. the 2nd one that doesn't really look RED anymore is the one that was on FIRE!!

I had saved my apartment by flipping off all the switches and cutting off all power.

Here ya go.. the plug to the microwave, the adaptor that was in the outlet and all the 'on fire' damaged fusebox parts. Of course, my microwave no longer works nor does that particular outlet (and the only one on a counter in the kitchen) work.

I am so thankful that I was home and that I had actually been on the phone in clear view of this damaged outlet so that I could see the fire immediately when it broke out. I can't even imagine what could have happened... the damage to my possessions (and need I say it? MY YARN STASH?) or the other apartments on my floor or even in my building.

Apparently, I react very calmly in emergency situations too. Good to know- not something you want to find out.. but, it's still good to know.


susanc said...

Wow - how scary! Thank goodness you were home at the time. I hate to think of what could have happened...

Stay safe and I hope your electricity is back on and that everything is okay now.

Carey said...

Holy cow! Jeannie, I'm so glad you were there to handle things and that you're OK! (and, of course, glad that the yarn stash is OK!) :)

iwouldratherbeknitting said...

The electricty is OK now- the electrician completely replaced the main circuit breaker for the electric panel on the fuse box.

HOWEVER, if I had not been home- my apartment would have burned down.. either the one in the kitchen or the one on the fuse box panel would have started the fire.

SO, everyone.. please go check your batteries in your smoke alarms!

One of my friends at work, told me that she's getting some smoke alarms to put in every room in her house because of what had happened to me.

It was so scary and I had a hard time going to sleep on SUNDAY night (even though I was safe at my friend's apt.)... There's just something so scary about seeing flames over 12 inches long coming out of your wall!

Samantha said...

What a story! Glad everything is OK