Firefighters Share The Stupidest Ways People Have Set Fires Ablaze

Firefighters have ha super stressful, often very dangerous job. They save us from terrifying situations, and many find it to be quite a rewarding career. It's a little less rewarding when they're having to save us from our own stupidity, though.

Reddit user u/AnAverageGuy10 asked:

"Firefighters of reddit, what's the stupidest way a person has started a fire?"


We had a lady drying her Victoria secret panties by hanging them on top of her bathroom door and turning the ceiling heating lamp on. Panties caught fire and burned part of the door up. Funny thing is she didn't even know it happened. She called because she smelled smoke, our LT found the culprit... she was pretty embarrassed.



I was a leasing agent in Las Vegas and the red Cross contacted us about an emergency placement of a family. Turns out there 16 year old daughter had burned down the house after trying to kill a black widow with the hairspray and lighter flamethrower trick.... The father had this look of oh dear God my daughter is stupid as the story was told to us in the leasing office.



When I was maybe 18 I was living at the local volunteer fire station and all the other young guys needed to find ways to pass the time. As we are want to do in a rural town with lots of energy and little oversight we decided to be creative with our fun.

We head out to the side of the fire department and one of my buddies has a tennis ball that we just start kicking around. After a little bit another friend said he learned a cool trick at work and pulled out a can of degreaser. He coated the ball in degreaser and lit it on fire. Now we are kicking a flaming ball around that left little flaming drops on the ground after it bounced and may burn us if it hits. So obviously we are in heaven.

We kick the ball around a few times before one of us realizes that we are about 30 ft away from our above ground fuel tank - you know the multi hundred gallon tank we use to fill our equipment up with! We realize exactly how lucky we were to not blow ourselves up, put the ball out, and go inside without telling others there exactly how stupid we had just been. Sorry the fire was only the tennis ball, but I figured it was still in the spirit of the question.



Guy had bedbugs in his home. He read somewhere online if you raise the temperature in your home to a certain point the bedbugs can't survive.

This was sound advice. After he lit the portable propane heater and shut the door to his bedroom , the resulting fire killed all the bedbugs.



Rolled up to a three-plex row of two-story townhomes. The unit in the middle was blowing and going. By the time we put the fire out, there was a huge vee pattern on the back side of the complex, meaning you could see where the fire started at about waist level near the rear wall because everything above it was burned away upwards and outwards. Just completely cratered and gone in a vee all the way up to the (now mostly missing) roof.

Turns out the genius in the middle unit was trying to start his charcoal BBQ grill. Unfortunately, he didn't have any starter fluid, so he got the fantastic idea to use gasoline instead. Alas, the coals didn't completely catch the first time he lit them off, so he decided to pour on more gasoline. OUT OF THE GLASS JAR HE WAS USING TO STORE IT IN. A spark in the coals leapt up the pouring gas into the jar. Said genius panicked and threw the jar. Directly at the wall of his townhome. Where it exploded.

Dipsh*t Molotov cocktailed his own home.

When we rolled up our hoses and went back in service, leaving the scene in the capable hands of the investigators, the neighbors from either side were angrily and animatedly grouped up on the sidewalk out front, waiting for Captain Dumb*ss to return from the walk he had suddenly decided he needed to go on to "clear his head."



Had a guy last year that was driving down the highway while smoking. He went to flick the butt out the window, but it flew into his back seat where it started some crap back there on fire. Instead of pulling over this dumbass takes off his shorts and tries to put the fire out with them, while still driving at highway speeds. It didn't go so well as he slid off the highway. FD showed up to this moron with his car burning and him standing there in his underwear.



Coldest day of the year. -8, plus wind chill. Guy was trying to thaw a frozen water pipe in the basement, using a BLOW TORCH. Caught the wall on fire. Did NOT call 911 until the entire basement was on fire. Our chief was in the fire station, 1 1/2 blocks away, and by the time he was on-scene, the first floor was burning. Spent 5 hours in the freezing cold, putting it out.

I was on an attack line, kneeling on the sidewalk and spraying water into a second-floor window. Mist was blowing back onto me from the water stream. Eventually, another firefighter relieved me so I could go to the Rehab tent.

I couldn't get up- I was frozen to the ground, and my arms had a layer of ice on them so I couldn't bend them.
We were still fighting it when the insurance adjuster arrived. Our assistant chief said, "So, do you know what started this fire?"

The guy replied, "Yeah, but we insure for stupidity."



Not a firefighter, but when I was dorming my freshmen year of college, I got a call on Valentine's Day saying that my room was on fire and my bed/a bunch of my stuff had burned down. The night before my roommate borrowed my makeup mirror, left it on my desk, and then went home. I had already left for the weekend. When the sun rose the next morning, it reflected off the mirror and right onto my bed causing it to start smoking. Pretty stupid way to start a fire but luckily it got put out pretty quick. Took a week or two for the smell to air out which kinda sucked.



A dude got wasted drunk, put a pot full of water on to boil so he could make some corn. Falls asleep, water boils off and starts heating up this pot. Smoke begins to fill the apartment building, smoke detectors going off and everyone else is evacuated by the time we get there.

Except drunky mcdrunkerson. He's still passed out inside his apt and won't answer his locked door. That's ok, firefighters love breaching doors and generally "f---ing stuff up. We make forced entry and he's sleeping away on his couch while the smoke alarms scream.

He was able to walk out of the apt (hunched under the worst of the smoke) and everyone was fine.



Late to the party here, but last year right before Christmas, we had a structure fire that was started by the homeowner burning his 55 gallon drum of random wood cuttings and pieces from various tree trimmings under his "home engineered" carport. Now, to paint the picture a little, this carport is every bit of MAYBE 6 feet high. And made of nothing but plywood and 2x4s. He then used decking screws to secure it to his mobile home.

So, he lights up his burn barrel, under his carport, because it's kinda misty out and he doesn't want to stand in it. The flames from the CEDAR he was burning in his barrel reached probably 15 feet high and caught his carport on fire, which in turn, caught his car, his wife's car, and his mobile home on fire.

He's on the far outskirts of our district, so by the time we roll up, his cars are fully involved, with about half of his house rolling.

Luckily for his kids, we were able to get in and save all of their Christmas gifts from under the tree. Seeing their faces after we brought out their presents is a memory I'll never forget.



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