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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
911 isn't always used correctly or well.
Sometimes people call 911 when they really don't have to. Other times people get themselves stuck in the dumbest situations.
Firefighters are on the front line of these dumb situations more often than not.
Here were some of those answers.
Dumb jerk tried to cross a raging river in zero degree weather about a 300 foot span on a snowmobile. He lived but didn't make the crossing and the machine was recovered days later.
Safety At The Expense Of Others
I once had a firefighter tell me he almost died in a house fire while going back into the house to look for the owner. A neighbor was concerned about why the firefighter was still in the residence so he asked another firefighter. This is about how the exchange went:
Neighbor: Why is that fireman still in the house?
Firefighter: He's looking for the owner of the home.
Neighbor: He is right over there with the video camera.
Turns out the owner did not think it was important to alert the fire department he was out of the house. Instead, he was just taking video of the whole event.
The fire started because the owner had tried to smother his barbecue cooker flame with left over wood from the siding that had been installed on his home. The owner did not realize it would burn. Burned his whole house down.
Whatever It Takes
I used to do a lot of disaster response work.
Hurricane Floyd. Eastern NC. I had a farmer with a large family that refused to evacuate his house. Stubborn jerk. River had broke loose, floodwaters were coming up fast, and the police had given up on changing his mind. I drove my truck right up into his yard, rolled down the window and asked him to dress his kids in something orange or bright yellow. He asked me why and I said "So body recovery will be able to distinguish them from all the dead pigs floating around."
He told me to sod off, but 5 minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got the hell out.
The Price Of Being Stubborn
We needed to close the main connection through a forest over the winter because the trees were falling faster on the road than we could remove them due to way to much snow falling. Also the redirection was more than an hour longer due to the snow.
Some cars thought that they would come through but turned around as soon as they saw the trees on the road.
One semi also thought he'd get through. He drove up to the trees and called the fire brigade and complained why we didn't remove the trees. As he was calling a bunch of trees behind him also fell locking him in.
It stood there one month before the trees and the snow could get removed by us that at least the semi can back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.
We Didn't Stop The Fire
I was called to a home to get a pie out of the over before it caught fire. The lady went to the store and was delayed for some reason. she called 911 to have the fire department take the pie out of the oven and place it on the stove. The call came in as " Something stuck in oven and unable to turn off stove". Still #1 call in 32 years :)
Boom Boom Splaaaaaaaa
Years ago we had this call straight out of Caddy Shack. Some guy had gotten tired of this gopher ruining his yard. Little did he know though he was facing the Sun Tzu of gophers. The homeowner, dwelling upon his experience from Vietnam, decided that the best way to deal with the gopher was to treat the situation like a VC tunnel, in lieu of a frag grenade he poured a five gallon can of gasoline down the gopher hole, waited with a varmint gun, and lit it off.
The ensuing explosion caused a small crater to form in his yard. I am still thoroughly impressed that there was a proper fuel to air ratio in the network of tunnels that allowed for such an explosion to happen. However the gopher refused to surrender without a fight. The gopher ran out of the hole engulfed in flames, causing the guy's yard to catch on fire. The gopher sprinted into the guy's shed still on fire and burrowed into a void space in the wall, where he died. Like the martyr perk from Modern Warfare his still flaming remains set the inside of the wall on fire as well as several flammables.
In the end the guy's backyard was ruined and about a quarter of his shed burned down taking out a bunch of power tools and a zero turn mower. He definitely would have saved a few thousand dollars if he had hired an exterminator.
People Explain The Worst Thing That's Ever Happened To Them On Their Birthday
Locked Inside The Car
A motorist had a bad alternator and the car died while she/he was driving. The electric lock control stopped working. We were dispatched for a person trapped in a motor vehicle. On arrival, the advice was given to manually lift the lock knob.
You can easily tell the ones who will not survive the first 24 hours of the zombie apocalypse.
The Grossest Way To Live
Me and my dad are both firefighters and he said one time they went to a house because an elderly man could not get out of the leather recliner because he had been sitting in it for a week straight and his wife would just serve him drinks/ food and the guy never got up. He would just get drunk and urinate/defecate himself until he was physically stuck to the chair and they had to cut him out.
i was the dumb call. my cat got her paw stuck under the dishwasher, and was screaming bloody murder. I couldn't move her paw and I couldn't lift the machine, so i sat with her while my husband called the fire department. She chewed right through one of my favorite blankets in her stress.
Fire fighters arrive, not in full suits but heavy boots and pants. Soon as they came around the corner to the kitchen our cat miraculously was able to free her paw and take off to hide in the bathroom.
The guys seemed confused, but at least it was easy? We thanked them profusely for being scary enough to free our cat, who had zero physical damage (not even a broken claw). I guess she'd hooked her claws on something and didn't want to let it go for love or money.
You Played Yourself
Had a fellow who was running from the police. He decided to climb on board a chunk of ice that was flowing down the river. I am sure he thought he was a genius at the time, but the issue is that there isn't really a whole lot north of our town for a few hundred miles, so his long term planning wasn't great. Eventually we found him hiding in a small icy overhang on the side of the river suffering from hypothermia.
After a brief stay in hospital he ended up being arrested.
- Human instincts have largely been dulled by our relatively safe and cushy existence (as compared to way back when we still had to worry about predators).
Sometimes, though, trusting a gut feeling can save us from a world of hurt.
Reddit user u/cantbebothered_tk asked:
This Lieutenant Who Proposed To His Fellow Firefighter Girlfriend During A Drill Is the Sweetest Thing We've Seen All Day
It may have been April Fools' Day but a New York fire lieutenant wasn't joking around when he proposed to his firefighter girlfriend during a drill.
Members of an upstate New York fire department got together this week to hold a very special drill for one of their own.
On Monday volunteer firefighter and EMT Becca Pelletier was in full gear for her weekly training with the Barneveld Fire Department.
Pelletier was in for a big shock though when she finished the exercise and came out to find a surprise proposal from her boyfriend Lt. Kelby Ueltschi with the help of their fellow firefighters.
One managed to capture the moment on video and it's the sweetest thing we've seen all day.
The video begins as Pelletier is crawling out from underneath a door as she completed her mask confidence training drill.
Pelletier starts gathering gear when a voice off-screen shouts to her, when she looks up and sees what's happening Pelletier drops everything.
Behind two fellow fire fighters holding a hose with the message "Will you marry me?" her boyfriend Lt. Kelby Ueltschi is down on one knee holding out a ring.
Pelletier quickly sheds her gear and rushes over to him shouting "yes." The pair embrace as the rest of the team cheers on the newly engaged couple.
The video was later shared on Facebook where others joined in the celebration for the happy couple.
As far as proposals go people seemed to think Lt. Ueltschi had come up with a winner.
And based on Becca's reaction she thought so too.
@CBSNews @alexanderjaso1 @foxx_loveee look how fast that glove came off for that ring lol— SyRok Foxx (@SyRok Foxx)1554378580.0
@CBSNews The speed at which she took off that left glove, there was never any doubt.— Michael Pechar (@Michael Pechar)1554327060.0
The rest of the Barneveld department wished the couple well, saying they were glad to be apart of the moment.
"Our fire department is like a big family and we were excited that we could assist with the proposal. Congratulations and Best wishes to Becca and Lieutenant Kelby Ueltschi."