a newer one »Ten words or fewer

Catching Fire in the Face


This morning, I took a work call over at Diana's, the neighbor's, so that I could use her wifi and have a good, strong signal. I was cold, and thrilled to notice a firestarter sitting on the table close to me. I figured, hey, I have a fireplace, I should use it.

After the meeting, I borrowed the firestarter, sent Diana a text I had it, and wandered back to the house.

The house has a new fireplace gas insert. Diana had mentioned last winter the fireplace was used as the only heat source for the house, so I was sure it was working. Walt had shown me how to turn everything on, so with the promise of a delightful heat source, I put my computer down and went over to the fireplace.

I turned the gas key about a quarter turn before realizing that I could really hear the gas, so I turned it back to an eighth turn, before stepping over to the fireplace. As I stepped over, I clicked on the firestarter, holding the starter on, and crouched down directly in front of the fireplace. I continued to hear the gas as I extended my arms.

Turns out, the gas had pooled under the pipes. When I reached out, the flame of the starter found that pool, and the whole thing flared.

As I crouched in front of the fireplace, the ball of fire rushed out at me. I blinked. When I opened my eyes, I saw the hair hanging outside of my hat had caught on fire. I jumped up, threw down the firestarter, and started patting down my hair to extinguish my burning hair. I thought, "Huh, I wonder if my sweater is going to catch on fire," as I continued to flatten my hair in hopes of putting it out. I had most of my hair under my hat, having just come in from outside, which was a good thing.

Shortly, my hair fire was out. I looked around.

The fireplace had a nice fire going. Nothing else was on fire. Okay then. How am I?

My eyes felt weird, so I went into the bathroom to look. Turns out, I had burned off my eyelashes.

Fun times.

After taking a few pictures, I went back to the living room, turned off the gas fireplace, noticed I couldn't tell if there was a fog in the living room because I had just burned 1/4 of my hair off my head, or if I had damaged my eyes. I panicked for a bit, gathered myself, made a couple calls, then packed up my stuff, and drove to the closest urgent care clinic that I knew about.

Things are okay. My eyes are fine. Keep them wet, have them checked out again tomorrow to see if there are any missed issues. I restarted the fire in the fireplace, turning the key maybe a 16th turn and standing way off to the side to start the fireplace. Diana later commented that the fireplace needs either wood or ceramic logs. Whoops. Another cost. Great.

Add new comment