Tuesday, February 24, 2009


How ironic that just after posting about "making our house our home", I would inadvertently do something to almost send it all up in smoke. Literally.

Last Tuesday evening Andrew and I spend most of the evening in the family room, downstairs relaxing and watching a few shows that we had saved on TiVo. As I do regularly, I lit a few candles before I sat down to watch TV. One of the candles was in a glass vase filled with wine bottle corks and the pillar candle was nestled down into the center to hold it in place. I'd seen candles like these in the wine shop that we go to regularly and I knew I could make one for far less than the $40.00 that they were priced at in the store. So a few years ago I bought a clear, glass vase, a candle and took my bag of corks out of the cupboard that I'd been saving for ages. (I knew I'd find the perfect use for them someday.

Anyway, fast forward to last week. The candle had burned down a little too far, I suppose and should have been replaced. I lit it and we went on with our evening. The next day at noon I left work to come home for lunch. As soon as I opened the garage and got out of my car, I heard a strange beeping sound. I opened the door into the kitchen and was hit with a cloud of smoke.
The entire house was filled with smoke and the most awful stench. The dog was hiding somewhere and the smoke alarms were blasting. My first thought was to check the kitchen. Nothing there. I looked down the stairs into the family room and through the smoke I could see the reflection of orange, flickering flames. I ran down the stairs and rounded the corner to see the glass vase had exploded and was in flames a foot high and blackened, burning corks all over the top of the table and on the floor. I was in a panic and couldn't think of what to do at first. I finally got my wits about me and ran back upstairs to the kitchen and grabbed a bowl from the cupboard and filled it with water. I swear it took FOREVER for that bowl to fill with water! As I was standing there waiting for the bowl to fill, with my cell phone in my hand, my mind was reeling with thoughts on whether or not I should just call 911 right now or try and put it out myself.
I ran back to the fire with the water and dumped it on the vase. It put out the worst of the flames but at that point the top of the wooden table had begun to burn from the corks and wax covered pieces of glass that landed on it when the vase had exploded from the heat.
I ran back to the kitchen and got more water and put out the rest but not in time for the tabletop to be destroyed and the carpet burned in several spots.
I figured I'd better take some pictures for insurance purposes after the fire had been put out.

The dog was obviously terrified because he didn't come out until the fire was out and I was back in the kitchen. The poor thing probably had no idea what was going on with all the noise of the alarms and all the smoke.
I can't describe how lucky I feel that I came home from lunch when I did. The time I leave for lunch varies every day from noon to 12:30 and sometimes later. If I'd left work just ten minutes later I would have come home to the entire house in flames.
Now, almost a week later, the insurance adjuster has been here and a cleaning service that specializes in after fire clean-up. has spent two days here. Today the furnace ducts were all cleaned out. The next step is the carpet replacement. The carpet in the entire downstairs will be replaced and the walls painted to get rid of the last of the soot. The air ionizer thing that they ran all weekend took care of the smell in the rest of the house.

I think we'll be using our battery operated, flameless candles a little more from now on.


Blogger LSL said...

I am so sorry! This sounds terrifying! I am stunned - and just so glad that you caught it when you did. I light candles often and will take this as a serious warning. I am so glad you are all ok!

9:17 PM, February 24, 2009  
Blogger Matt said...

Holy cow! I'm glad everything's okay now. That is scary - and we light candes a lot too. Wow.

8:18 PM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Darth Gateau said...

Crap! Scary. We only use tea-lights which go out when they've burned down but they could still set light to other stuff.

Your poor dog. Bless!

7:47 AM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger Palm Springs Savant said...

Gadzooks! That is scary. I almost burned the place down with a roomate's faulty old toaster back when I was in college. Ever since then I always unplug the toaster, despite the fact that these days we have a nice new toaster. Anyway, someone was looking out for you all. Count the blessings!

8:50 AM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger Alan Scott said...

I'm glad that the damage was limited to a small area but most importantly that the pooch is okay.
Good to hear you're all right! :)

8:30 AM, March 03, 2009  
Blogger Tom said...

Good to hear it didn't turn into something worse, and that your Ok!

9:10 AM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Matt said...

I had a candle accident at a happy hour that I threw for my coworkers in December. We drank a lot, which was cool.. Then we got out the wii..

It got competitive and one friend swung his hand back in a large arch hitting a tall candle vase.

The vase had a soy candle inside and immediately fragrant soy wax covered the floor and rug. The 12" tall red glass vase shattered everywhere.

Fortunately, everyone got out their corporate cards and scraped wax and picked up shards of glass.

Then we drank more.

5:34 PM, March 16, 2009  
Blogger madhouse said...

wowzers - i'm so glad everything is ok (mostly the pup, things can be replaced, not so easy are the pups)...

a great reminder.
glad your safe

2:45 PM, April 04, 2009  
Blogger CJ/Rick said...

That is something to get the ole heart rate up. I try and be careful but... I was burning a Yankee Candel once and it had burned about 50% down the jar and the jar burst and the wax and flames spread over the bar top. Anything can happen. Glad you and the pooch are okay.

4:50 AM, April 19, 2009  

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