Nobody should ever be shamed for losing things in a fire.

It's an awful, unexpected occurrence. But, it is preventable, and not all fires are started in uncontrollable or unexpected ways.



u/f1_77Bottasftw asked:

Firefighters of Reddit, what's the dumbest way you've seen someone accidently start a house fire?

Here were some of those answers.


The Wrong Workshop

In the city of Colorado Springs, the local news did a fluff piece about candle safety near Christmas. After they were done filming , the store owner that they were filming in took the crew out to breakfast. She didn't put out the candles, and burned several shops to the ground. The film crew was there to film her breakdown when they realised what caused the fire.

bananainmyminion

Just Dumb Sometimes

I worked for a restoration company. A family cut a small tree down and tried to stuff it up their fireplace to burn. The flue was so crammed with leaves that smoke started to fill the living room. They tried to pull the tree out and that's when it REALLY caught fire. They tried to pull it out of the house, they got as far as the front door. All of them had 2nd/3rd degree burns on their hands/arms and the fire destroyed the front room and entry way of their house. The insurance company asked us if we thought it was a case of fraud, and we told them "No these people are just really stupid".

brianh71

One Should Always Try To Stop Fires

A roomba knocked a scented candle over and set fire to the rest of the room. The guy said he knew the roomba did it because he watched the whole thing happen, but didn't do anything because he thought it was funny.

SeriousSam430

Yes, Cardboard Is Flammable

Teenager was charcoal grilling in the attached garage during the winter. When done he decided the best place to dispose of the hot coals was into a cardboard box in front corner of the garage closest to the house. Yeah, it went about as well as you can imagine.

remlik

Underbed Glamping

When my father in law was a kid, he really wanted to have a camp fire. His parents told him no. He was determined to have a camp fire so he went up to his room and started one under his bed so they wouldn't know. I keep that knowledge in my back pocket for whenever he wants to imply I'm an idiot.

AlaWyrm

Insurance Policy Covers Dumb, Don't You Worry

A fairly common one, but the response was interesting!

Early February, Western PA. Guy's pipes freeze on the coldest day of the year, -8F.

He tries to thaw them with a propane torch. Sets the wall on fire.

Tries to put the fire out. Fails. Finally calls 911.

Fire Chief is 1/2 block away. Is on-scene in under a minute. Basement is fully involved, main floor catching.

First engine arrives in under 5 minutes. Doors are blocked by fire, exterior attack only.

I'm on an attack line, spraying water into the 2nd-floor window. After 40 minutes, another firefighter comes to relieve me, but since I'd been getting backspray, I'm frozen to the ground. He has to pull me loose.

2 hours later, we have it knocked down. The insurance adjuster shows up. Asst. Chief explains what started the fire.

Adjuster replies, "Oh, yeah, we know. It's OK, we insure for Stupid!"

(Nobody got hurt. Family gets a much nicer house out of the deal.)

Jef_Wheaton

She Never Took Science

My Dad was a firefighter, and he once went to a house fire that was started by the old lady who lived there. She liked to burn candles, but didn't like the wax buildup that would form in the cavity, so she would soak up the liquid wax with a napkin. She was doing this when she accidentally brushed a wax soaked napkin up against the flame. She panicked and threw the napkin into the trash . . . where all the other wax napkins were. As the trashcan exploded into flames she fled the house, but not before she went to her oxygen tanks and FLOODED THE HOUSE WITH PURE OXYGEN, because she thought that it would smother the fire.

corvettee01

Are We Blacksmiths?

I am a firefighter but this wasn't in my district. A guy was attempting to forge a sword in a burn barrel in an alley, based on something he watched on the History Channel. The embers from the "forge" lit up the building he lived in and destroyed 3 multi family residential buildings.

snufalufalgus

It Backfired

Not a house fire, but really good!

Late 1980s. Guy was driving an old, beat-up Lincoln. He turned a corner to go up a steep hill, but the road dept. had recently ground the asphalt down in preparation to repave. A storm sewer manhole cover was sticking up about 4". As he went over it and up the hill, the rear of his car dragged due to the pavement height difference, and the manhole ripped open his fuel tank and sparked off the gas.

Guy described it- "I heard a scraping sound, looked in the mirror, and there was this trail of FIRE chasing me up the hill, like I was the Road Runner!"

He pulled into a gravel parking lot and tried to kick a break in the trail before the fire got there, but it jumped the gap and lit the car. By the time we got there, it was a total loss.

He actually thought it was kind of funny. The only real loss was his wife's purse, with her license and credit cards. The car was insured, and they got a pretty nice payout for it.

Jef_Wheaton

Lairy Fights

This happened this past fall, but a family had a "fairy house" that was outside, right next to their wood sides house. The fairy house was made out of an old tree, and had a bunch of decorations in it, including incense candles. One evening, they decided that they would light the candles for the fairy's, which then caught the tree on fire, which then extended into the house. Since it started on the outside, it ran up the side of the house and got into the attic and second floor. The family was home, but in the first floor while this was happening, it wasn't until someone driving on the road saw the smoke and went to alert the family. Luckily, we were able to save the structure, there was a bit of damage to the roof, attic and second floor, but the homeowners are rebuilding those areas.

Skimanmike

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!