Pages

23.10.12

A 999 Call.

Saturday was pretty much an average Saturday, with the exception of my husband going to work in the afternoon rather than the morning due to a schedule change at the radio station.
The boys eat separate to us most nights and as they had both been a bit over-excited in the afternoon I decided to give them an early dinner so they would be put to bed as my husband walked in the door at around 6 o clock.
So just before 5 I placed four sausages under the grill. The tray was a bit mucky so I placed a piece of tin foil over the rack so as to not add to the muck already there.
I remained in the kitchen the whole time, watching the sausages as the boys chased after each other in the lounge. As it came time to turn the sausages I pulled out the tray, turned them carefully and placed them back under the grill.
And then....they exploded, and spat and shot oily fat all over the top of the grill.
I'd obviously seen sausages and other oily fatty foods doing this before so I didn't panic at first as I saw spark like flames shooting from the top of the grill.
I kept watching and noticed that the top of the grill had now just become one giant flame. And as the sausages still spat the flames were getting bigger and were spreading out from the grill and reaching up towards the cupboard above the grill. The tin foil was curling up at the corners and melting away.
The fat that had leaked from the sausages onto the grill was now also alight.
My heart started racing and I went a big light headed.
What the heck should I do?!

I tried calling my husband but he had just left the radio station and was on his way home. I tried to call my mum but she didn't answer.
I dialled 999.
I pressed the call button and then instantly hit the red button to end the call.
Was I over-reacting?
Did I really need a fire engine pulling up outside my house just for sausages?

I kept watching the flames.
I kept watching as the flames poured up towards the cupboard, unsure as to whether or not the contents of the cupboard were now also starting to burn, or were at any moment about to shoot into flames too.
I looked at the pin board which is attached to the side of the oven/cupboard. I noticed all the letters and receipts and vouchers at home on the notice board. Each one now looking like it would be the next victim to a fire.

I knew I had to call 999.
I knew I couldn't wait until my husband got home.
I knew I had to risk over-reacting just in case.
I dialled 999, pressed call and this time the call connected.
We were told to go outside and that the fire brigade were on their way.
Calmly I grabbed the boys and took them outside. I was proud that they knew nothing of what was going on.
Charles was confused but I calmly told him that he would get to see a fire engine soon because our grill was being silly and was on fire.
We initially stood out the front but then I decided to move us into the garden, I could see the grill from there too. As we went into the garden I looked through the kitchen window and I saw the fire get smaller and go out.
It flickered with a big flame once more and then stopped.
Just as it stopped the fire engine pulled up.
I burst into tears. A fireman came and stood with me and the boys and another went in and inspected the grill and the cupboard above.
Thankfully the flames hadn't caused any damage to the contents of the cupboard.

My house was full of smoke so they went round and opened the doors and windows and instructed me to do the same upstairs. Charles reluctantly stayed downstairs and one of the fireman played with him.
As I came downstairs I was informed of something important. Something I hadn't completely noticed.
Our lack of fire alarm going off.
We had one upstairs which was taken down due to a broken bracket.
The one downstairs, we assumed worked.
Unfortunately, again due to a broken bracket, it had been sellotaped up but the sellotape was covering the area which detects smoke.

It was an awful moment and I felt terribly embarrassed.
The firemen couldn't have been any nicer. They calmed me down and then put in two new fire alarms for us. Even unscrewing a base unit in our lounge to then put up another one.

We are also considering a home fire safety check as well as the training on what to do in particular situations.
The fire alarms they have put it are guaranteed for 10 years. After 10 years you simply pull them down, bin them and then buy some more.
Simple.

Charles turned down the opportunity to go in the fire engine and to try on one of the helmets. He did choose to lift my dress up in front of the firemen though.

I was really glad that I phoned them in the end. They reassured me that it's always best to ring, than to leave it before it was too late.
Every week we will be performing the check on the fire alarm to make sure it's working.
And in the future, I will never hesitate when it comes to calling 999.