Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Close Call

I almost set the living room on fire yesterday.

There is a table near the fireplace on which sits multiple pairs of gloves, among them the heavy leather gloves I use to carry wood and work on the fireplace, and a pair of "gardening" gloves that are not leather and that I normally use when raking stuff in the yard. Yesterday I was outside with those glove having taken down the flag for the day (I usually wear the fuzzy gloves when doing this) and absentmindedly collected some wood to take inside and put on the fire. When I opened the door, a bunch of smoke poured out because I'd forgotten to open the damper. I tossed the wood into the fire, closed the door, and put the gloves aside on the table, then went to do some other things.

I came back into the living room and could still smell smoke. At first I thought it was the remnants of the blow-back from the fireplace, but then I saw smoke rising from the table with the gloves. My gloves had caught on fire!

Burnt Gloves

I picked up the gloves and realized that a small coal must have bounced out of the fireplace and into the gloves when I was loading more wood into the fire, and it had set the gloves alight, as the fuzzy gloves aren't fireproof. I normally don't use them for working on the fire anyway.

Tossing the smoldering gloves to the ground on the "sacrificial rugs" (a pair of rugs that we keep in front of the fireplace so that stray sparks don't damage the carpet), I grabbed the spray bottle of water we keep near the fireplace. When the immediate flames stopped, I then gingerly picked up the gloves (I'd already slightly burnt one hand picking them up from the table), took them into the bathroom, and drowned whatever was left of the fire in the sink.

Had the spray bottle been insufficient, we also keep a halon fire extinguisher near the fireplace. We've never had to use it, thank goodness.

The gloves, as you see here, were a total loss — the black areas are fingers of the gloves that burnt — but they were pretty worn out already and were going to need to be replaced soon in any event.

I'm just glad that I wasn't out of the living room for long. A few more minutes and instead of a minor inconvenience there might have been a major conflagration.
Tags: fireplace, house

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