Fire, no fireworks on Fourth

Published 12:14 am Saturday, July 13, 2013

Everyone has an embarrassing moment now and then. I have had my share; the latest happened on a holiday.

Some people like to celebrate the 4th of July with good food and fireworks. You might say that there were some fireworks at my house this 4th of July. It wasn’t anything to celebrate. It rates as one of my most embarrassing (and frustrating) experiences.

I cannot tell you how red-faced I was when an Andalusia police officer and two fire trucks arrived at my house. They came in response to alerts that triggered two extremely loud fire alarms my daughter and I could not shut down at my house. She stood on a ladder waving a towel at the smoke that touched off the alarm on the sun porch. I kept running back and forth from the sun porch to the central alarm box to punch in the code. It stopped for seconds. Then about time I got halfway back to the sun porch, it sounded off full force again. Even though I had removed the cause of the alarms–two melting plastic containers of cooked ribs–from my oven, tossed the oven racks with globs of melted plastic around them outside, and opened my front and back doors; smoke permeated the kitchen, foyer, and sun porch. We did have the presence of mind to close off the rest of the house as soon as we saw what was happening.

Through all this, my daughter’s dog Sadie was running here and there in the house, totally confused by the commotion.

After the Andalusia Fire Department trucks arrived, my daughter grabbed Sadie (who was belligerent toward those unfamiliar men in uniforms who came in the house) and we went outside to get deep breaths of fresh air. During the excitement, I had forgotten melted plastic causes toxic fumes.

The firemen set up a fan to blow out the smoke. What a relief and great help that was. Despite my humiliation over what had happened, I was thankful for the prompt appearance of the police officer and members of the fire department. It was good to know that the alarm system works the way it should. Sometimes a similar or worse situation has to occur to remind citizens like me what a good job our civil servants perform.

With our meal completely off schedule following the mishap, I whole-heartedly agreed to my daughter’s suggestion to take our food and eat our 4th of July dinner at her house. I admit I had pretty much lost my appetite.

Later, back home, I inspected the top oven rack. I easily broke the clear plastic from the top of the container off it. The hardened melted black plastic wound in and out of the tines, forming shapes resembling some kind of small monsters from a science fiction movie.

The rack replacement fit right in with a 4th of July theme by costing a bang-up price. I hope for a calmer, embarrassment-free 4th next year.