Oil Fire (Almost Burned My Apartment Down)

UPDATE 11 PM:  My blistering is very, very bad. My neighbor saw it and said I should probably go to the hospital, but there’s nothing they can do except put me on narcotics for the pain, and since I’m on Naltrexone for the alcoholism, opiates won’t work on me.

My biggest fear right now is that I am going to break open a blister accidentally, like in my sleep.  That will make the pain a million times worse.

(I’d post photos of my blisters–LOOK AT MY OUCHIE!–and my burned up stove, but I already emailed them to my landlord, so it would be a security breech.)

I talked to my brother and he calmed me down.  He said: “Your landlord is going to have to buy another cheapass little oven from Sears and repaint the scorched, blistered areas of paint around the stove. Even including labor costs, this is a $500 mistake AT MOST. You didn’t let his house burn down and you reported it to him immediately.  He might be pissed, but this is not a big deal.  He has pictures of your injuries, and your rent on time.  DO NOT offer to buy a new stove yourself.  I wouldn’t pay a landlord shit besides my rent.”

I did some research online.  Apparently, grease fires are very common and get big in a hurry.  Every personal story I found the was the same, essentially: “I was checking my text on the phone for 20 seconds and smelled something and found flames shooting up to the ceiling. Then I poured water on it and burned the hell out of myself.”

I will NEVER leave a stove with grease unattended again, and I just bought 4 more fire extinguishers from Amazon.

If Abe had been in the apartment, he would have died from smoke inhalation.  Thank God he was at the boarder, because they had to close early one day and I couldn’t get to him in time.

*                                        *                           *

Well, last night was a shitshow of horrific proportions.  Nothing like this has ever happened to me.  I don’t even know HOW it happened.

I was cooking with vegetable oil of the stove and turned my back on it to go use the toilet.  I was gone two minutes, tops.

I wash my hands and come back, and the fucking pan was on fire.  

I freaked and immediately did the stupidest thing imaginable: I grabbed the mop bucket, poured water in it from the kitchen sink, and poured the water all over the fire.

Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.

All that the water did was make the oil come out of the pan and spread all over the stovetop.  And the oil, was still on fire.

The flames were increasing and there was smoke.  A LOT of smoke.  The smoke alarm went off.

I grabbed the fire extinguisher.  I was in such panic, though, and the fire was spreading, that I could not read the instructions (bet your ass I’m going to be practicing that thing out in the driveway today).

I came very, very close to just running out and calling 911.  But when that fire spread–and you know how fast it can happen–I’d lose everything.  Also, I live in a house with four apartment units.  It  would be unfair to my neighbors.

I got two towels and beat it out, hoping they wouldn’t catch on fire (they didn’t…but they are ruined, of course).

My stove and the grill above it–with the fan and the light–are BLACK.  I hope it’s just soot.  If not, well….

Also: I burned the hell out of my right arm.  Woke up to ten blisters.

My landlord is going to kill me.  There goes my security deposit! I’m about to to start cleaning.

Oh, something else: the fire did something to the electricity. My fridge, next to the oven, turned off.

I stayed up for an extra hour, paranoid, to make sure the fire didn’t somehow “come back” and to let out all the smoke.  I barely slept a wink last night.  The burns hurt, and I was paranoid that the fire would start again in my sleep.

I don’t even know HOW this happened. There was nothing flammable on the stovetop except the oil….in a pan. What happened?

2 thoughts on “Oil Fire (Almost Burned My Apartment Down)”

  1. I’m so glad you weren’t more badly hurt! Grease fires are common, and serious. If you can take Advil or other OTC antiinflammatories they will help your burns a bit. So will cold dressings (soak a clean cloth in cold water, or put one in the freezer for 15 min). Go to the Dr if you see any signs of infection.

    1. Hi Anne;

      This fire terrified me and I’m lucky I didn’t set my hair on fire, because I was bending over it. I could’ve burned down my entire house if I ran for it and called 911. There are babies who live here. Six families (I think) who could have lost everything. And who knows if they could have gotten out in time. It was 10 PM, nobody was responding to the fire alarm, and smoke inhalation kills you in minutes. Those are the lucky ones. My mother worked in the burn unit as part of her training and she said it was the worst thing she’s ever seen in health care.

      That black smoke killed my houseplant in the kitchen. In less than 2-3 minutes. And I’ve been coughing. Mom says I might need a nebulizer (sp?) like asthmatics.

      It happened SO FAST. That is what I want to stress. I’m not one of those women who goes to the bathroom forever. I was out in 2 minutes MAX, and I was cooking on medium-low heat cuz I didn’t want to burn my food. For some reason, I had no idea oil could catch on fire. I thought it was like water: it would boil and steam/smoke, but not CATCH ON FIRE.

      A few of the blisters on my hands broke and it hurts like hell. The ones on my arm are okay. I mean, I look like a leper, but they’re not broken.

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