Well...open flames have consequences.
Reader, if you are proceeding to these stories, do not try these at home---as has been proven, you WILL burn your house down.
And do you really want to be a firefighter's reason for epic face-palming?
Here were some of the answers.
When Backfire Means The Best Possible ThingGiphy
A guy on my motorcycle forum once shared the story of how he fixed his broken coffee machine and how proud he was that he had actually managed to fix it. Three days later somebody broke into his house and the coffee machine was stolen among other things. The police didn't give him much hope, but two days later he received a call from the police - they had found all his stuff. When he asked them how they had found the thieves the police officer said: "They tried to use a coffee machine they had stolen from your house. It caught fire and burned their house half down."
It Was The Potatoes
Fry homemade potato chips on a gas stove with a plastic kitchen bin next to it.....turn around for maybe 10 seconds....voila! Kitchen engulfed. Oh, and make sure the fire extinguisher is in the cupboard right next to the stove and therefore redundant.
Yo Quiero My House Intact
Husband is a firefighter. I would say that 90 percent of the fires I hear about are food left on the stove. Someone comes home drunk, decides to cook, then passes out while the food is cooking.
Expert advice: Just go to Taco Bell.
Not an easy way to burn down your house, but rather a workshop, specifically a woodworking shop. A wood worker may use a wood finish/stain on a finished project, then throw the dirty stain towel in a bucket, and they do this for years. What some people don't know, is that those dirty towels can combust if there is enough built up. An easy way to burn down a shop. You should either clean it off and leave it in a ziplock bag outside, or put it in a fireproof bucket.
Buried (And Burned) Alive
Not a firefighter, but my dad was station commander of 3 stations in our area with a lot of experience. And my mum was in the fire service doing health inspection things and saw lots of hazards.
A biggy was smokers- either not putting out smokes, or falling asleep. In a minute an entire room could be engulfed in flame.
Another is hoarders, it's just waiting to happen.
And then one time my brother left his laptop on the bed and it caught fire. Needless to say my dad was pissed. He then caught him again with his laptop on the bed the very next day whilst my brother was at school. Legit thought the world was going to end
A Room For The House
Not respecting your fireplace.
Half of the fires I have attended have been because the homeowner placed flammable objects too close to the wood stove.
The worst was a wood burning furnace that was in a fire resistant room which was filled with paper, plastic and clothing. Luckily the well built room prevented the loss of the house.
The Sugar War
Daughter of firefighters here.
Pop-tarts, man. There's a reason some toasters have a Pop-tart setting. Sugar has a pretty low melting point for something intended to fit in a toaster slot.
Fire In The Disco
Our most common calls come from dryers, and ovens/stovetops. Usually we get there in time to just point our water can at it, and knock it down before it does too much damage.
Clean your dryer air ducts/lint traps, and turn off the damned stove when you're done! Also a good idea to keep fire extinguishers handy. They're incredibly cheap for the life safety. I keep one next to my bed, under the passenger seat of my car, in the kitchen, and underneath the bathroom sink. Cost me less than $150 for all of them.
My wife was infusing some kind of flowers into oil. She put flowers and coconut oil in a mason jar and put that in a small pot of water on the stove to melt the coconut oil. When it was time to go pick up the kids from school, she left the house and forgot to turn off the stove.
She got a call from our neighbor a short time later telling her that there was smoke coming out of our house. The oil had gotten so hot that the jar exploded and sent hot oil all over the kitchen, catching it on fire.
The Duct, The Duct!Giphy
Not cleaning your dryer vent once a year (from interior wall to the roof or exterior wall)...
Dryer fires are I believe the #1 cause of house fires. Not cleaning the vent can and will attribute to not only a higher electric or gas bill, longer dry times, but also dryer fires.
Clean your damn dryer duct!
Not a firefighter but I live in Florida where we have fairly often power outages for hours or days at a time. A lot of fires here start when the power goes out while the electric stove is on. Time passes and people are in the kitchen and someone sets something down on the stove top (usually pizza boxes or similar). Eventually the power comes back on and whatever is on top of the stove catches fire.
Quality For My Life
Shoddy vape battery chargers. When I was younger I had a double 18650 battery charger that I got for like $10 on eBay. I left the batteries charging one day while I went to school and came home to my batteries half melted. Can't say what would've happened if they were on there longer.
Buy decent battery chargers.
Just a volunteer, but I responded to a call where a lady with a gas stove had left a BBQ lighter in the bottom drawer of her stove. Many people don't seem to realize that these are meant as warming drawers (me included) and so a little bit of heat is vented in while the stove is on. Well the lady set her stove on clean mode which gets it ridiculously hot and had this lighter blow her stove up. Her house ended up relatively fine but it could have been alot worse. Just alot of smoke and her stove is now dead.
If I Die, Blame The Cats
I'm a nurse, but we do a fire safety drill every year. According to our instructor, the two easiest ways to cause a fire is 1) leaving your food unattended while it's heating up in the microwave, and 2) smoking in bed.
The biggest takeaway every year is no to leave our food unattended in the microwave, and to close the doors at night at home. Doors alone can directly prevent fires from extending from the source to the room in the house. They always show us this photo of a house where everything but the bedroom was burnt and covered in soot, but the bedroom was pristine because the door was closed when the fire happened.
I don't close my bedroom door when I'm sleeping cuz my cat's bowls are in the kitchen and I don't want to prevent her from getting to it. But the photo always makes me contemplative.
Tell This To Southerners
Wife of a firefighter here. My husband recently had a call where someone put pizza boxes in the oven and forgot about them. Their daughter went to make brownies and turned the oven on with the pizza boxes in the oven. They caught it before the fire got out of control but it could have easily spread to the whole house. Don't store things in your oven!
Blowtorched Out Of Proportion
- Dirty dryer vents.
- Bathroom fans. People don't have them on timers, so they run for long periods of time over years and the motor burns out and catches fire.
- Bark dust fires, usually caused by discarded cigarettes, but any spark will do. They can smolder for days, and eventually catch decks and siding on fire.
I have also seen people catch their house on fire by using a blowtorch to kill weeds and or insect nests.