Tonight held a first for me.
It was the first time I have ever used a fire extinguisher to extinguish a fire.
After coming home from a walk, I smelled smoke in the garage and asked HH what it was. While I was gone, he and the fellas lit some small fire works. Nothing illegal or elaborate… in fact, they were the kind you find in a garden-variety, grocery-store packet of things that go fizz, pop and whee.
Now, fast forward 20 minutes to bedtime. I am reading a nighttime story with Turtle on the first floor while HH is with the other boys who are getting ready for bed upstairs.
And I smell something.
Natural gas? Nope. We don’t have it.
It smelled like it could be an oven mitt or plastic container left on a burner on the stove, but then I remember that dinner was hours ago. I had already cleaned the range top, so I know the oven is off.
I follow the smell to the back of the house.
As I open the door to the garage, a plume of smoke wafts into the house.
I step into the garage and look down. I realize that the plastic garbage can that the boys put the remnants of the fireworks into, is now a puddle of liquid plastic on the floor .
And the puddle is on fire.
I scream for HH and as he is coming downstairs, my grade-school lessons about what to do in a fire come roaring back into my brain.
1.) This is not oil or grease, so we can use water.
2.) Water would probably splash everywhere.
3.) Fire extinguisher! I scream to HH that we need a fire extinguisher and he turns around towards the kitchen sink where we keep one for kitchen fires.
And then, I remember (because we cleaned up a little in the garage a few weeks ago) that we have one there too.
And it is behind me!
On the wall!
Grab. Pull the pin. Spray.
Spray some more for good measure.
The fire did very little damage because we caught it early. The only thing irreparably damaged was the trash can – the photo below is the puddle of cooled plastic – and the smoke damage was minimal. It appears the embers from the fireworks ignited a rag we had tossed away, probably one that was soaked in chemicals of some kind.
There was a cardboard box of old toys next to it that would have been the next thing to catch and that would have lit the brooms behind the box, which would have probably lit the wood paneling…and so on.
Fifteen minutes later, we would have all been in bed upstairs and the garage may have been a total loss. Who knows when we would have realized there was anything burning. I hate to think about what could have happened.
We did not have fire detectors in the garage.
The boys thought the remnants were cooled.
So many lessons.
If you have 10 minutes tomorrow, do a fire safety check with your spouse, kids and/or loved ones.
Locate or buy a fire extinguisher.
Get a plan for getting out, especially if you are in a multilevel house.
Reality smacked me in the face tonight.
Thank goodness the lesson was all we ended up with, not a pile of rubble where our house used to be…or worse.