Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speedy, Scary, and Sobering

It happened so fast.  In mere seconds, our cabin was on fire.

Yesterday at the end of the post, I indicated that I would tell you how our cabin caught fire.  With great SPEED, that's how.

We use propane heat, refrigeration, and lighting in our cabin as it isn't located anywhere near access to power lines.  The guilty object was one of the lights in the kitchen - the propane light right above the kitchen sink.

Several of us had been getting a random whiff of propane in that general vicinity for a while, and for whatever reason, the leaking propane decided to catch fire on Friday.

I was in the process of cooking some supper, and son Caleb was just generally hanging around, waiting for the meal and circling the food like a piranha.  I turned my back for just several moments, and all of a sudden Caleb is yelling, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!"

With that I turned around to see flames shooting from the lamp and crawling up the wall.  FAST.

Caleb dove right in and stuck his hand into the flames to turn off the gas switch.  After some blowing and hand slamming into the flames, the fire appeared to be out.  Meanwhile I ran for a nearby bucket of water (which we keep handy in the bathroom in case the spring fed toilet needs help flushing), and Caleb grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher.

Although the fire appeared to be stopped, our concern was whether or not the flames had traveled up through the ceiling and into the attic.  It was hard to tell, and we made a lucky and correct assumption  that the fire had been stopped in just the knick of time.

The offender
Caleb was the hero that afternoon, and fortunately he didn't suffer any major burns.  Just a small finger burn from turning off the gas lever.

SCARY, it was.  After we all calmed down and the adrenaline settled out, we discussed among ourselves how easily the whole cabin could have gone up in smoke and flames and been destroyed.  Our cabin is roughly 50 years old, and due to the heat from many years of fires and propane lighting and heating, frankly it is as dry as a tinderbox.

SOBERING.  As recommended to any homeowners and families, we planned among ourselves how we would have escaped had the fire gone out of control and blocked the main entrance to the cabin.  This is certainly an issue of concern, as all the windows have removable "bear bars."  It is important to know how to quickly open them if the windows need to be used as an escape route.

We also reminded ourselves that there is a rear door.  That may seem odd, but it is possible that our back door has not even been opened for years.  We just never go in or out that way.

Furthermore, as a family we decided to end the practice of leaving that one light on in the bathroom all night.  We will each carry a flashlight or lantern if a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom is required.  

Needless to say, the husband/lover/handyman spent a good part of the next day removing the faulty light and gas piping, and after mounting a large fireproof square of cement board onto the wall, a new light was installed.

I'd like to say we are back to normal and good as new, but I'm not comfortable yet to do so.  At least we are fortunate that nobody was hurt.

I probably only shortened my life by a year or two dealing with the stress of it all.


  1. We are so happy for you all that no one was hurt. What a scary adventure for sure. Hope Caleb's finger heals very quickly.

  2. Very scary! Glad you got it under control so quickly.

  3. So glad that no one was hurt. Fires can be so scary!

  4. WOW - I'd never be able to sleep again! So glad you were so quick to react and that no serious injuries or damages occurred!